1727, "ground for training horses," from French terrain "piece of earth, ground, land," from Old French (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *terranum, from Latin terrenum "land, ground," noun use of neuter of terrenus "of earth, earthly," from terra "earth, land," literally "dry land" (as opposed to "sea"); from PIE root *ters- "to dry." Meaning "tract of country, considered with regard to its natural features" first attested 1766.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to dry."
It forms all or part of: inter; Mediterranean; metatarsal; parterre; subterranean; tarsal; tarsus; Tartuffe; terra; terrace; terra-cotta; terrain; terran; terraqueous; terrarium; terrene; terrestrial; terrier; territory; thirst; toast; torrent; torrid; turmeric; tureen.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tarsayati "dries up;" Avestan tarshu- "dry, solid;" Greek teresesthai "to become or be dry," tersainein "to make dry;" Latin torrere "dry up, parch," terra "earth, land;" Gothic þaursus "dry, barren," Old High German thurri, German dürr, Old English þyrre "dry;" Old English þurstig "thirsty."
1969, acronym of all-terrain vehicle, which is attested by 1968.
Old English unefen "unequal, unlike, anomalous, irregular," from un- (1) "not" + even (adj.). Similar formation in Old Frisian oniovn, Middle Dutch oneven, Old High German uneban, German uneben, Old Norse ujafn. Meaning "broken, rugged" (in reference to terrain, etc.) is recorded from late 13c. Related: Unevenly; unevenness.
"remote and wild place," 1910s, from Tagalog bundok "mountain." A word adopted by occupying American soldiers in the Philippines for "remote and wild place." It was reinforced or re-adopted during World War II. Hence, also boondockers "shoes suited for rough terrain," originally (1944) U.S. services slang word for field boots.
also no man's land, "terrain between front lines of entrenched armies," 1908, popularized in World War I; earlier a tract or district to which no one has an established claim; a region which is the subject of dispute between two parties" (by 1876). Nonemanneslond (early 14c.) was the name given to an unowned waste ground outside the north wall of London, the site of executions. No man (Old English nanne mon) was an old way of saying "nobody."
also air-line, 1813, "beeline, straight line between two points on the earth's surface" (as through the air, rather than over terrain), from air (n.1) + line (n.). From 1853 and in later 19c. especially in reference to railways that ran directly between big cities in the U.S. instead of meandering from town to town in search of stock subscriptions as early railways typically did. Meaning "public aircraft transportation company" is from 1914.
"separated by force into parts, not integral or entire," past-participle adjective from Old English brocken, past participle of break (v.). Of terrain, "rough," 1590s; of language, "imperfect, ungrammatical," 1590s. Related: Brokenly; brokenness. Broken home, one in which the parents of children no longer live together, is from 1846. Broken record in reference to someone continually repeating the same thing is from 1944, in reference to scratches on phonograph disks that cause the needle to jump back and repeat.
When Britain's Minister of State, Selwyn Lloyd[,] became bored with a speech by Russia's Andrei Vishinsky in UN debate, he borrowed a Dizzy Gillespie bebop expression and commented: "Dig that broken record." While most translators pondered the meaning, a man who takes English and puts it into Chinese gave this translation: "Recover the phonograph record which you have discarded." [Jet, Oct. 15, 1953]
Middle English rough (late 14c.), also rouhe, rouwe, roghe, rugh, etc., from Old English ruh, rug- "not smooth to the touch, coarse (of cloth); hairy, shaggy;" of hides, "undressed, untrimmed;" of ground, "uncultivated." This is from West Germanic *rukhwaz "shaggy, hairy, rough" (source also of Middle Dutch ruuch, Dutch ruig, Old High German ruher, German rauh), from Proto-Germanic *rukhaz, which is perhaps related to the source of Sanskrit ruksah "rough;" Latin ruere "to rush, fall violently, collapse," ruina "a collapse;" Lithuanian raukas "wrinkle," rukti "to shrink."
The original -gh- sound was guttural, as in Scottish loch. The form row was a regular variant from early 16c. and lingered in dialects. Of actions, "characterized by harshness or disparity," c. 1300; of land, terrain, late 15c. as "rugged, hard to traverse." Of stormy weather from mid-14c.; by late 14c. of turbulent seas, rude language, discordant sounds.
From mid-14c. as "crudely made;" c. 1600 as "rudely sufficient, not smooth or formed by art." Rough stone "undressed stone mortared together" is from mid-15c. Of writing or literary style, "lacking refinement, unpolished," 1530s. The sense of "approximate" is recorded from c. 1600.
Rough draft (or draught) is from 1690s. Rough-and-ready "rude and disorderly" is by 1832, from an earlier noun (1810), originally military; rough-and-tumble "not elaborately or carefully ordered" is from a style of free-fighting characterized by indiscriminate blows and falls (1810). Rough music "din produced by banging pots, pans, etc. for the purpose of annoying or punishing a neighbor" is by 1708. Rough-snout (c. 1300) was an old term for "a bearded face."