also re-enforce, "add new force, strength, or weight to," c. 1600, originally in military sense, from re- "again" + inforce, variant of enforce "drive by physical force; fortify, strengthen" (compare re-enforce, and see en- (1)). Related: Reinforced; reinforcing.
The ordinary form (rein-) has been so far divorced from the simple verb (formerly inforce or enforce, now always the latter) that it seldom or never means to enforce again, as when a lapsed regulation is revived. For that sense re-enforce should be used. [Fowler]
1630s, "to strengthen, reinforce, repair by fresh supplies," from French recruter (17c.), from recrute "a levy, a recruit" (see recruit (n.)). The sense of "to enlist new soldiers" is attested from 1650s, hence "gain new supplies" of anything, for any purpose (by 1660s); specifically of student athletes by 1913. Of troop units or classes, "supply with new men, reinforce," 1770s. Related: Recruited; recruiting.
mid-14c., "to drive by physical force; to try, attempt, strive; to fortify, strengthen a place;" late 14c. as "exert force, compel; make stronger, reinforce; strengthen an argument; grow stronger, become violent," from Old French enforcier "strengthen, reinforce; use force (on), offer violence (to); oppress; violate, rape" (12c.) or a native formation from en- (1) "make, put in" + force (n.). Meaning "compel obedience to" (a law, etc.) is from 1640s. Related: Enforced; enforcing.
From c. 1400 as "fill, cram full; fill (the belly) with food or drink, gorge;" from early 15c. as "to clog" (the sinuses, etc.); from late 14c. as "fill (a mattress, etc.) with padding, line with padding;" also in the cookery sense, in reference to filing the interior of a pastry or the cavity of a fowl or beast. The ballot-box sense is attested from 1854, American English; in expressions of contempt and suggestive of bodily orifices, it dates from 1952.
type of dance, 1766, from French cotillion (15c.), originally "petticoat," a diminutive of Old French cote "skirt" (see coat (n.)); its application to a kind of dance arose in France and is considered obscure by some linguists, but there are lively turns in the dance that flash the petticoats.
Meaning "formal ball" is 1898, American English, short for cotillion ball. French uses -on (from Latin -onem) to reinforce Latin nouns felt to need more emphatic power (as in poisson from Latin piscis). It also uses -on to form diminutives, often strengthened by the insertion of -ill-, as in the case of this word.
late 14c., "to decorate, adorn, beautify," also in Middle English "equip (a place) for defense; arm (oneself) for battle; prepare to defend," from Old French garniss-, present-participle stem of garnir "provide, furnish; fortify, reinforce" (11c.), from Frankish *warnjan, from Proto-Germanic *warnon "be cautious, guard, provide for" (source also of Old High German warnon "to take heed," Old English warnian "to take warning, beware;" see warn), from PIE root *wer- (4) "to cover."
Sense evolution is from "arm oneself" to "fit out" to "embellish," which was the earliest meaning in English. Culinary sense of "to decorate a dish for the table" predominated after c. 1700. Older meaning survives in legal sense of "to warn or serve notice of attachment of funds" (1570s). Related: Garnished; garnishing.
word-forming element meaning "back, back from, back to the original place;" also "again, anew, once more," also conveying the notion of "undoing" or "backward," etc. (see sense evolution below), c. 1200, from Old French re- and directly from Latin re- an inseparable prefix meaning "again; back; anew, against."
Watkins (2000) describes this as a "Latin combining form conceivably from Indo-European *wret-, metathetical variant of *wert- "to turn." De Vaan says the "only acceptable etymology" for it is a 2004 explanation which reconstructs a root in PIE *ure "back."
In earliest Latin the prefix became red- before vowels and h-, a form preserved in redact, redeem, redolent, redundant, redintegrate, and, in disguise, render (v.). In some English words from French and Italian re- appears as ra- and the following consonant is often doubled (see rally (v.1)).
The many meanings in the notion of "back" give re- its broad sense-range: "a turning back; opposition; restoration to a former state; "transition to an opposite state." From the extended senses in "again," re- becomes "repetition of an action," and in this sense it is extremely common as a formative element in English, applicable to any verb. OED writes that it is "impossible to attempt a complete record of all the forms resulting from its use," and adds that "The number of these is practically infinite ...."
Often merely intensive, and in many of the older borrowings from French and Latin the precise sense of re- is forgotten, lost in secondary senses, or weakened beyond recognition, so that it has no apparent semantic content (receive, recommend, recover, reduce, recreate, refer, religion, remain, request, require). There seem to have been more such words in Middle English than after, e.g. recomfort (v.) "to comfort, console; encourage;" recourse (n.) "a process, way, course." Recover in Middle English also could mean "obtain, win" (happiness, a kingdom, etc.) with no notion of getting something back, also "gain the upper hand, overcome; arrive at;" also consider the legal sense of recovery as "obtain (property) by judgment or legal proceedings."
And, due to sound changes and accent shifts, re- sometimes entirely loses its identity as a prefix (rebel, relic, remnant, restive, rest (n.2) "remainder," rally (v.1) "bring together"). In a few words it is reduced to r-, as in ransom (a doublet of redemption), rampart, etc.
Prefixed to a word beginning with e, re- is separated by a hyphen, as re-establish, re-estate, re-edify, etc. ; or else the second e has a dieresis over it: as, reëstablish, reëmbark, etc. The hyphen is also sometimes used to bring out emphatically the sense of repetition or iteration : as, sung and re-sung. The dieresis is not used over other vowels than e when re is prefixed : thus, reinforce, reunite, reabolish. [Century Dictionary, 1895]