1530s, "absence of government," from French anarchie or directly from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia "lack of a leader, the state of people without a government" (in Athens, used of the Year of Thirty Tyrants, 404 B.C., when there was no archon), abstract noun from anarkhos "rulerless," from an- "without" (see an- (1)) + arkhos "leader" (see archon).
From 1660s as "confusion or absence of authority in general;" by 1849 in reference to the social theory advocating "order without power," with associations and co-operatives taking the place of direct government, as formulated in the 1830s by French political philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865).
Either the State for ever, crushing individual and local life, taking over in all fields of human activity, bringing with it its wars and its domestic struggles for power, its palace revolutions which only replace one tyrant by another, and inevitably at the end of this development there is ... death! Or the destruction of States, and new life starting again in thousands of centers on the principle of the lively initiative of the individual and groups and that of free agreement. The choice lies with you! [Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), "The State: Its Historic Role," 1896]
1670s, "one who denies the validity of ruling power;" see anarchy + -ist. The word got a boost during the French Revolution; in 19c. it was used both of "one who advocates absence of government as a political ideal" (philosophical or scientific anarchism) and "one who seeks to overthrow violently all forms and institutions of society and government with no intention of establishing others."
1727, "rebirth; state of being reborn or born anew," from renascent + -ence. As a more classical native alternative to The Renaissance, it was used from 1868, first by Matthew Arnold.
... so the great movement which goes by the name of the Renaissance (but why should we not give to this foreign word, destined to become of more common use amongst us, a more English form, and say Renascence?) was an uprising and re-instatement of man's intellectual impulses and of Hellenism. [Arnold, "Anarchy and Authority," in Cornhill Magazine, June 1868]
Related: Renascency (1660s in a general sense).
"the common people of a community, the multitude; persons not distinguished by rank, education, office, or profession," 1570s, from French populace (16c.), from Italian popolaccio "riffraff, rabble," from popolo "people" (from Latin populus "people;" see people (n.)) + pejorative suffix -accio.
That vast portion, lastly, of the working class which, raw and half-developed, has long lain half hidden amidst its poverty and squalor, and is now issuing from its hiding-place to assert an Englishman's heaven-born privilege of doing as he likes, and is beginning to perplex us by marching when it likes, meeting where it likes, bawling what it likes, breaking what it likes — to this vast residuum we may with great propriety give the name of Populace. [Matthew Arnold, "Culture and Anarchy," 1869]
fem. proper name, from French Mathilde, which is of Germanic origin, literally "mighty in battle;" compare Old High German Mahthilda, from mahti "might, power" (see might (n.)) + hildi "battle," from Proto-Germanic *hildiz "battle" (see Hilda). Matilda (1102-1167), daughter of Henry I, claimant to the throne during the Anarchy, usually is not reckoned among the kings and queens of England.
The name also was late 19c. Australian slang for "a traveler's bundle or swag," hence the expression waltzing Matilda "to travel on foot" (by 1889).
In my electorate nearly every man you meet who is not "waltzing Matilda" rides a bicycle. ["Parliamentary Debates," Australia, 1907]
The lyrics of the song of that name, sometimes called the unofficial Australian national anthem, are said to date to 1893.