"offensive to the senses, fetid or soured by chemical change, having a tainted small or taste," 1640s, from Latin rancidus "rank, stinking, offensive" (also source of Italian rancido, Spanish rancio), from rancere "be spoiled or rotten," a word of unknown origin. Compare rancor. German ranzig is from French rancide. Related: Rancidness; rancidity.
1570s, "to corrupt, contaminate," also "to touch, tinge, imbue slightly" (1590s), from Middle English teynten "to convict, prove guilty" (late 14c.), which is partly from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre "to touch upon, seize" (see attainder). It also is from Anglo-French teinter "to color, dye" (early 15c.), from Old French teint (12c.), past participle of teindre "to dye, color," from Latin tingere (see tincture). Related: Tainted; tainting.
mid-15c., of wine, "muddy, not clear," from Old French impur (13c.), from Latin impurus "not pure, unclean, filthy, foul," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + purus "pure" (see pure).
In English, the subsequent order of sense appearance seems to be "earthly, mundane, not spiritual" (c. 1500); "obscene, lewd, unchaste, immoral" (1530s); "mixed with offensive matter, tainted" (1590s); "mixed or combined with other things" (without reference to foulness), 1620s. As a noun from 1784. Related: Impurely.
1550s, originally an ecclesiastical word meaning "bishop" or "minister who supervises churches within a district" (ultimately a loan-translation of Greek episkopos "overseer"), from Medieval Latin superintendentem (nominative superintendens), present participle of Late Latin superintendere "oversee," from Latin super "above" (see super-) + intendere "turn one's attention to, direct" (see intend). Famously used by 16c. radical Protestants in place of bishop, which to them was tainted by Papacy.
[Martinists] studie to pull downe Bishopps, and set vp Superintendents, which is nothing else, but to raze out good Greeke, & enterline bad Latine. [Lyly, "Pappe with an Hatchet," 1589]
The general sense of "a person who has charge of some business" is first recorded 1580s. Meaning "janitor, custodian" is from c. 1935. Shortened form super first attested 1857, especially at first of overseers of sheep ranches in Australia. As an adjective meaning "superintending," from 1590s.
c. 1300, "to strip (someone) of clothes, strip a slain enemy," from Old French espillier "to strip, plunder, pillage," from Latin spoliare "to strip, uncover, lay bare; strip of clothing, rob, plunder, pillage," from spolia, plural of spolium "arms taken from an enemy, booty;" originally "hide, skin stripped from a killed animal," from Proto-Italic *spolio- "skin, hide," from PIE *spol-yo-, probably from a root *spel- (1) "to split, to break off" (see spill (v.)) on the notion of "what is split off."
From late 14c. in English as "strip with violence, rob, pillage, plunder, dispossess; impoverish with excessive taxation." Used c. 1400 as the verb to describe Christ's harrowing of Hell. Sense of "destroy, ruin, damage so as to render useless" is from 1560s; that of "to over-indulge" (a child, etc.) is from 1640s (implied in spoiled). Intransitive sense of "become tainted, go bad, lose freshness" is from 1690s. To be spoiling for (a fight, etc.) is from 1865, from notion that one will "spoil" if he doesn't get it.
"in poor taste," 1888, from earlier sense of "shabby, seedy" (1862), adjectival use of tackey (n.) "ill-fed or neglected horse" (1800), later extended to persons in like condition, "hillbilly, cracker" (1888), of uncertain origin. Related: Tackiness.
The word "tacky" is a Southern colloquialism. It was coined by a wealthier or more refined and educated class for general application to those who were not sheltered by the branches of a family tree, who were "tainted." Those who were wealthy and yet had no great-grandfathers were "tackies." The word was used both in contempt and in derision. It is now nearly obsolete in both senses. There are no aristocrats in the South now, and therefore no "tackies." No man who has the instincts of a gentleman is spoken of as a "tacky," whether he can remember the name of his grandfather's uncle or not. But it has its uses. It is employed in describing persons of low ideas and vulgar manners, whether rich or poor. It may mean an absence of style. In dress, anything that is tawdry is "tacky." A ribbon on the shopkeeper's counter, a curtain in the bolt, a shawl or bonnet, a bolt of cloth fresh from the loom may be "tacky," because it is cheap and yet pretentious. In Louisiana the inferior grade of Creole ponies are known as "tackies." [Horace Ingraham, Charleston, S.C., in American Notes and Queries, Feb. 15, 1890]
"of the nature of blood, pertaining to blood, bleeding, covered in blood," Old English blodig, adjective from blod (see blood). Common Germanic, compare Old Frisian blodich, Old Saxon blôdag, Dutch bloedig, Old High German bluotag, German blutig. From late 14c. as "involving bloodshed;" 1560s as "bloodthirsty, cruel, tainted with blood-crimes."
It has been a British intensive swear word at least since 1676. Weekley relates it to the purely intensive use of the cognate Dutch bloed, German Blut. But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of "rowdy young aristocrats" (see blood (n.)) via expressions such as bloody drunk "as drunk as a blood."
Partridge reports that it was "respectable" before c. 1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c. 1750-c. 1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it "very vulgar," and OED writes of it, "now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered 'a horrid word', on par with obscene or profane language."
The onset of the taboo against bloody coincides with the increase in linguistic prudery that presaged the Victorian Era but it is hard to say what the precise cause was in the case of this specific word. Attempts have been made to explain the term's extraordinary shock power by invoking etymology. Theories that derive it from such oaths as "By our Lady" or "God's blood" seem farfetched, however. More likely, the taboo stemmed from the fear that many people have of blood and, in the minds of some, from an association with menstrual bleeding. Whatever, the term was debarred from polite society during the whole of the nineteenth century. [Rawson]
Shaw shocked theatergoers when he put it in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion" (1913), and for a time the word was known euphemistically as "the Shavian adjective." It was avoided in print as late as 1936. Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, was when 13 civilians were killed by British troops at protest in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.