1660s, "real estate, real property," from earlier meaning "a real possession" (1540s), earlier still "reality" (mid-15c.), from Old French realite, realte, from Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis "actual" (see real (adj.)). The notion behind the word is the immobility, or the fixed, permanent nature of certain kinds of property, especially landed. Also compare reality.
1540s, "quality of being real, objective reality," from French réalité and directly from Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis (see real (adj.)). Also compare realty, which was the older form of the word in the sense of "reality" (mid-15c.).
Meaning "real existence, what is real, the aggregate of all that is real" is from 1640s; that of "the real state (of something)" is from 1680s. Sometimes 17c.-18c. it also meant "sincerity." Reality-based is attested from 1960, in marriage counseling. Reality television is attested from 1991.
c. 1400, "office or position of a sovereign, royal power or authority," also "magnificence," from or modeled on Old French roialte (12c., Modern French royauté), from Vulgar Latin *regalitatem (nominative *regalitas), from Latin regalis "royal, kingly; of or belonging to a king, worthy of a king" (see royal (adj.)).
The meaning "royal persons collectively" is from late 15c. From the notion of prerogatives of a sovereign the sense expanded to "prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation" (late 15c.). From that evolved more general senses, such as "payment to a landowner for use of a mine" (1839), and ultimately "payment to an author, composer, etc." for sale or use of his or her work (1857). Compare realty.
1916, "real estate agent," American English, as though an agent noun from realty, coined by real estate agent Charles N. Chadbourn of Minneapolis, Minn., to distinguish the legitimate section of the business; popularized 1920s; patented as Realtor by the National Association of Real Estate Boards.
The 1916 Convention of the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB) approved the adoption of the term as the official designation of an active member of the Association. In 1920 the District Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota, decided in favor of the Realtors in a case against a telephone directory publisher that had indiscriminately used the word in listings. The court asserted that the word "had never been used in any way whatsoever until so invented" and could thus be used only by those duly licensed by the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Until the Lanham Acts of 1948 changed federal patent regulations to allow protection for registered collective marks, the National Association fought and won sixteen cases on the local and state levels to protect its symbolic property. [Jeffrey M. Hornstein, "The Rise of Realtor," in "The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class," New York, 2001]
1540s, a legal term, "personal property" (in distinction from realty), from Anglo-French personaltie (late 15c.), corresponding to French personalite, from Medieval Latin personalitas (see personality).
c. 1300, "particular affection; special attachment or favor, partiality," from Old French especialte, more vernacular form of specialite (see speciality). Compare personalty/personality; realty/reality. From early 15c. as "unusual, or extraordinary thing; specialized branch of learning; peculiar quality, distinctive characteristic."
c. 1300, reaume, "kingdom, domain under a sovereign, royal jurisdiction," from Old French reaume, later realme, variants (in part by influence of Old French reial "regal," from Latin regalis) of roiaume "kingdom."
This is possibly from a Gallo-Romance *regiminem, "formed as an accusative on Latin regimen government, rule" [Barnhart; see regimen], or from or as if from Vulgar Latin *regalimen "a kingdom," from Latin regalis [Century Dictionary, OED; see regal], or some combination of the two [Klein]. Realty and royalty tended to come out of Old French in similar forms, and roylty in Middle English also could be spelled realty. (14c., from Old French reaute, realte).
The modern spelling predominates from c. 1600. Transferred or figurative sense of "sphere of activity; area of power, influence, or operation" is from late 14c.
late 14c., spiritualite, "the clergy," also "ecclesiastical property; things pertaining to the Church," from Anglo-French spiritualite, Old French espiritualite, and directly from Late Latin spiritualitatem (nominative spiritualitas), from Latin spiritualis (see spiritual). Meaning "quality of being spiritual" is from c. 1500; seldom-used sense of "fact or condition of being a spirit" is from 1680s. Also in early use spiritualty (late 14c.).
English is blessed with multiple variant forms of many words. But it has made scant use of them; for every pair historic/historical; realty/reality, or luxuriant/luxurious there is a spiritualty/spirituality or a specialty/speciality, with two distinct forms, two senses requiring differentiation, hundreds of years gone by, and but little progress made in in sorting them out.