c. 1600, of people or things, "mingled confusedly or indiscriminately, consisting of parts or individuals grouped together without order, consisting of a disorderly mix," from Latin promiscuus "mixed, indiscriminate, in common, without distinction, to which all are admitted without distinction," from pro (see pro-) + miscere "to mix" (from PIE root *meik- "to mix").
Meaning "indiscriminate in sexual relations" is recorded by 1857, from promiscuity in the related sense, the meaning then shading into "not restricted to one individual." The Latin adjective also was used sexually, with conubia (of sexual union between patricians and plebeians). Related: Promiscuously; promiscuousness.
1834, "indiscriminate mixture, confusion," from French promiscuité (1752), from Latin promiscuus "mixed, not separated" (see promiscuous) + French -ité (see -ity). By 1844 in the sense of "promiscuous sexual union" (originally as among races of people). An earlier word was promiscuousness (by 1773 general; 1808 sexual).
also *meig-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to mix."
It forms all or part of: admix; admixture; immiscible; mash; meddle; medley; melange; melee; mestizo; metis; miscegenation; miscellaneous; miscible; mix; mixo-; mixture; mustang; pell-mell; promiscuous.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit misrah "mixed;" Greek misgein, mignynai "to mix, mix up, mingle; to join, bring together; join (battle); make acquainted with;" Old Church Slavonic mešo, mesiti "to mix," Russian meshat, Lithuanian maišau, maišyti "to mix, mingle," Welsh mysgu "to mix."
also chippie, "promiscuous young woman; prostitute," 1880, U.S. slang, perhaps an extended sense of chippy (1864), short for chipping-bird "sparrow," which is perhaps ultimately a variant of cheep.
late 14c., nowghty, noughti "needy, having nothing," also "evil, immoral, corrupt, unclean," from nought, naught "evil, an evil act; nothingness; a trifle; insignificant person; the number zero" (from Old English nawiht "nothing;" see naught)) + -y (2).
Specific meaning "sexually promiscuous" is from 1869. The mitigated sense of "disobedient, bad in conduct or speech, improper, mischievous" (especially of the delinquencies of children) is attested from 1630s. Related: Naughtily; naughtiness. In 16c.-18c. a woman of bad character might be called a naughty pack (also sometimes used of men and later of children).
Old English swingan "beat, strike; scourge, flog; to rush, fling oneself" (strong verb, past tense swang, past participle swungen), from Proto-Germanic *swengwanan (source also of Old Saxon, Old High German swingan, Old Frisian swinga, German schwingen "to swing, swingle, oscillate"), which is of uncertain origin and might be Germanic only.
The meaning "move freely back and forth" is first recorded 1540s. Transitive sense "cause to oscillate" is from 1550s. Sense of "bring about, make happen" is from 1934. Sense of "engage in promiscuous sex" is from 1964; earlier, more generally, "enjoy oneself unconventionally" (1957). Related: Swung; swinging. Swing-voter "independent who often determines the outcome of an election" is from 1966.
1680s, "disorderly part of the population, rabble, common mass, the multitude, especially when rude or disorderly; a riotous assemblage," slang shortening of mobile, mobility "common people, populace, rabble" (1670s, probably with a conscious play on nobility), from Latin mobile vulgus "fickle common people" (the Latin phrase is attested c. 1600 in English), from mobile, neuter of mobilis "fickle, movable, mobile" (see mobile (adj.)).
Mob is a very strong word for a tumultuous or even riotous assembly, moved to or toward lawlessness by discontent or some similar exciting cause. Rabble is a contemptuous word for the very lowest classes, considered as confused or without sufficient strength or unity of feeling to make them especially dangerous. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
Also used of a promiscuous aggregation of people in any rank of life (1680s), and in Australia and New Zealand used without disparagement for "a crowd." Meaning "gang of criminals working together" is from 1839, originally of thieves or pick-pockets; the American English sense of "organized crime in general" is from 1927.
The Mob was not a synonym for the Mafia. It was an alliance of Jews, Italians, and a few Irishmen, some of them brilliant, who organized the supply, and often the production, of liquor during the thirteen years, ten months, and nineteen days of Prohibition. ... Their alliance — sometimes called the Combination but never the Mafia — was part of the urgent process of Americanizing crime. [Pete Hamill, "Why Sinatra Matters," 1998]
Mob scene "crowded place" is by 1922, from earlier use in reference to movies and theatrical productions; mob-rule "ochlocracy" is by 1806.