early 14c., "summon into court to prove a title," from Anglo-French voucher, Old French vocher "to call, summon, invoke, claim," probably from Gallo-Roman *voticare, metathesis of Latin vocitare "to call to, summon insistently," frequentative of Latin vocare "to call, call upon, summon," which is related to vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak"). Meaning "guarantee to be true or accurate" is first attested 1590s. Related: Vouched; vouching.
It forms all or part of: advocate; avocation; calliope; convocation; epic; equivocal; equivocation; evoke; invoke; provoke; revoke; univocal; vocabulary; vocal; vocation; vocative; vociferate; vociferous; voice; vouch; vox; vowel.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vakti "speaks, says," vacas- "word;" Avestan vac- "speak, say;" Greek eipon (aorist) "spoke, said," epos "word;" Latin vocare "to call," vox "voice, sound, utterance, language, word;" Old Prussian wackis "cry;" German er-wähnen "to mention."
1550s, "affirm, acknowledge openly;" 1590s, "make good, answer for," from French avochier "call upon as authority," in Old French "call (to court), advocate, plead (a case)," from Latin advocare "call to" as a witness (see advocate (n.)).
Avouch, which is no longer in common use, means guarantee, solemnly aver, prove by assertion, maintain the truth or existence of, vouch for .... Avow means own publicly to, make no secret of, not shrink from admitting, acknowledge one's responsibility for .... Vouch is now common only in the phrase vouch for, which has taken the place of avouch in ordinary use, & means pledge one's word for .... [Fowler]
Related: Avouched; avouching.
mid-14c., "to declare the truth of," also "to vouch for or confirm" (an official record, etc.), from Old French certefiier "make certain, witness the truth of" (12c.), from Late Latin certificare "to certify, to make certain," from Latin certus "fixed, sure" (see certain) + root of facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Also used in Middle English in broader senses of "inform, give notice to; instruct, to direct; to designate." Related: Certified; certifying.
It forms all or part of: indulge; indulgence; play; pledge; plight (v.) "to pledge;" replevin.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit drmha-, drhya- "to fix, make firm;" Old Avestan derez- "fetter;" Gaulish delgu "to hold," Middle Welsh dala "to hold," Old Breton delgim "to hold;" Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Gothic tulgjan "to fasten."
mid-14c., plegge, "surety, bail," from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) "hostage, security, bail," also Anglo-Latin plegium, both probably from Frankish *plegan "to guarantee," from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning "have responsibility for" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Middle Dutch plien "to answer for, guarantee," Old High German pflegan "to care for, be accustomed to," Old English pleon "to risk the loss of, expose to danger"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed" [Watkins].
From late 14c. as "person who goes surety or gives bail for another;" late 15c. (Caxton) as "personal property given as surety for a debt or engagement. By 1520s as "a token or sign of favor, agreement, etc.
Meaning "allegiance vow attested by drinking with another" is from 1630s. Sense of "solemn promise, one's word given or considered as security for the performance (or refraining from) an act" is recorded by 1814, though this notion is from 16c. in the verb. Weekley notes the "curious contradiction" in pledge (v.) "to toast with a drink" (1540s) and pledge (n.) "the vow to abstain from drinking" (1833). Meaning "student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority" dates from 1901.
Middle English pleien, from Old English plegan, plegian "move lightly and quickly, occupy or busy oneself, amuse oneself; engage in active exercise; frolic; engage in children's play; make sport of, mock; perform music," from Proto-West Germanic *plegōjanan "occupy oneself about" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for, take charge of," Old Frisian plega "tend to," Middle Dutch pleyen "to rejoice, be glad," German pflegen "take care of, cultivate"), which is apparently connected to the root of plight (v.), but the ultimate etymology is uncertain and the phonetic development is difficult to explain.
Meaning "to take part in" a martial or athletic game is from c. 1200. It has been opposed to work (v.) since late 14c. Meaning "perform or act on the stage" (transitive) is by late 14c., as are the senses of "take the role of" and "make a pretense of, make believe" and "act thoughtlessly or wantonly." Sense of "put forward, move, throw, lay on the table, etc." in the course of a game or contest is by 1560s of chess pieces, 1670s of playing cards. Sense of "operate or cause to operate with continuous or repeated action" is from 1590s. Meaning "to cause (a recording) to reproduce what is on it" is by 1903, probably from the "make music" sense. Related: Played; playing.
Many expressions are from the stage, sports and games, or music, and it is not always easy to say which is from which. To play up "emphasize" is from 1909 (perhaps originally "play music more vigorously"); to play down "minimize" is from 1930; to play along "pretend to agree or cooperate" is from 1929. To play fair "be nice" is from mid-15c. To play house as a children's activity is from 1958.
To play for keeps is from 1861, originally of marbles or other children's games with tokens. To play (something) safe is from 1911; to play favorites is attested from 1902. To play second fiddle in the figurative sense is from 1809 ("Gil Blas"). To play into the hands (of someone) "act in such a way as to give the advantage to one's opponent or a third party" is from 1705. For play the _______ card see card (n.1). For play the field see field (n.). To play with oneself "masturbate" is from 1896 (to play with "have sexual intercourse with" is from mid-13c.). Playing-card "one of a pack of cards used for playing games" is from 1540s.