noun and adjective, Old English, "of or pertaining to ancient Rome; an inhabitant or native of ancient Rome," from Latin Romanus "of Rome, Roman," from Roma "Rome" (see Rome). The adjective is c. 1300, from Old French Romain. The Old English adjective was romanisc, which yielded Middle English Romanisshe.
In reference to a type of numeral (usually contrasted to Arabic) it is attested from 1728; as a type of lettering (based on the upright style typical of Roman inscriptions, contrasted to Gothic, or black letter, and italic) it is recorded from 1510s. The Roman nose, having a prominent upper part, is so called by 1620s. The Roman candle as a type of fireworks is recorded from 1834. Roman Catholic is attested from c. 1600, a conciliatory formation from the time of the Spanish Match, replacing Romanist, Romish which by that time had the taint of insult in Protestant England.
"a novel," 1765, from French roman, from Old French romanz (see romance (n.)). Roman à clef, novel in which characters represent real persons, literally "novel with a key" (French), is attested in English by 1893. And, in the days when a tec was popular reading, roman policier "a story of police detection" (1928).
"occasion on which entertainment or profit is derived from injury or death of another," 1860, originally in reference to holidays for gladiatorial combat; the expression seems to be entirely traceable to an oft-quoted passage on a dying barbarian gladiator from the fourth canto (1818) of Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage":
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother. He, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday!
"Roman Catholicism" (usually, if not always, with a disparaging savor; in some contexts suggesting political allegiance to the Vatican), 1670s, from Roman + -ism. Other words in the same sense from about the same time were Romanish (Old English, but 1590s specifically of Catholics); Romanist (1520s); Romanistic.
in Catholicism, "devotions consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days," 1745, from Medieval Latin novena, fem. of Latin novenus "ninefold," from novem "nine" (see nine).