c. 1200, persoun, "an individual, a human being," from Old French persone "human being, anyone, person" (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona "human being, person, personage; a part in a drama, assumed character," originally "a mask, a false face," such as those of wood or clay, covering the whole head, worn by the actors in later Roman theater. OED offers the general 19c. explanation of persona as "related to" Latin personare "to sound through" (i.e. the mask as something spoken through and perhaps amplifying the voice), "but the long o makes a difficulty ...." Klein and Barnhart say it is possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu "mask." De Vaan has no entry for it.
From mid-13c. as "one of the persons of the Trinity," a theological use in Church Latin of the classical word. Meanings "one's physical being, the living body; external appearance" are from late 14c. In grammar, "one of the relations which a subject may have to a verb," from 1510s. In legal use, "corporate body or corporation other than the state and having rights and duties before the law," 15c., short for person aggregate (c. 1400), person corporate (mid-15c.).
The use of -person to replace -man in compounds for the sake of gender neutrality or to avoid allegations of sexism is recorded by 1971 (in chairperson). In person "by bodily presence" is from 1560s. Person-to-person is attested by 1919, originally of telephone calls.
late 14c., "death," a sense now obsolete, from Old French obit or directly from Medieval Latin obitus "death" (a figurative use, literally "a going down, a going to a place"), noun use of past participle of Latin obire "to die," literally "to go toward" (see obituary).
From c. 1400 as "anniversary of a person's death; memorial service held on the anniversary of a person's death." In modern usage (since 1874) it is usually a clipped form of obituary, though it had the same meaning of "published death notice" 15c.-17c. The scholarly abbreviation ob. with date is from Latin obiit "(he) died," third person singular of obire.
1610s, "the university building in Alexandria," from Latin museum "library, study," from Greek mouseion "place of study, library or museum, school of art or poetry," originally "a temple or shrine of the Muses," from Mousa "Muse" (see muse (n.)). The earliest use in reference to English institutions was of libraries for scholarly study (1640s); the sense of "building or part of a building set aside as a repository and display place for objects relating to art, literature, or science" is recorded by 1680s.
Meaning "of or pertaining to alphabetic letters" is from late 14c. Meaning "concerned with letters and learning, learned, scholarly" is from mid-15c. Sense of "verbally exact, according to the letter of verbal expression" is attested from 1590s, as is application to the primary sense of a word or passage. Literal-minded is attested from 1791.
surname of the famous family of English authors; the current version is a scholarly convention and until after the deaths of the sisters it was variously spelled and accented. Juliet Barker ("The Brontës," 1994), writes that their father was registered at Cambridge in 1802 as "Patrick Branty," which he soon corrected to Bronte. The family was Irish Protestant. "At a time when literacy was extremely rare, especially in rural districts of Ireland, the usual Brontë name was spelt in a variety of ways, ranging from Prunty to Brunty and Bruntee, with no consistent version until Patrick himself decided on 'Bronte'." [Barker]