late 15c., "action of bestowing or assigning," from Latin attributionem (nominative attributio) "an assignment, attribution," noun of action from past-participle stem of attribuere "assign, allot; ascribe, impute," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + tribuere "assign, give, bestow" (see tribute). Meaning "thing attributed" is recorded from 1580s.
"action of converting (something) into a commercial product or activity," 1968, from commodity + -fication "a making or causing." Originally in Marxist political theory, "the assignment of a market value," often to some quality or thing that the user of the word feels would be better off without it.
1570s, "anticipation, the taking of something anticipated as already done or existing," also "the assignment of something to a too early date," from Latin prolepsis, from Greek prolēpsis "an anticipating," etymologically "a taking beforehand," from prolambanein "to take before, receive in advance," from pro "before" (see pro-) + lambanein "to take" (see lemma). A word used variously in philosophy and rhetoric. Related: Proleptic; proleptical; proleptically.
1610s, "action of delegating" (earlier in this sense was delegacie, mid-15c.); perhaps a native formation, perhaps from French délégation, or directly from Latin delegationem (nominative delegatio) "assignment, delegation," noun of action from past-participle stem of delegare "to send as a representative," from de "from, away" (see de-) + legare "send with a commission," possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather." Meaning "persons sent by commission" is from 1818; meaning "a state's elected representatives, taken collectively," is U.S. political usage from 1828.
c. 1600, "attention to particulars," from French détail, from Old French detail "small piece or quantity," literally "a cutting in pieces," from detaillier "cut in pieces" (12c.), from de- "entirely" (see de-) + taillier "to cut in pieces" (see tailor).
French en détail "piece by piece, item by item" (as opposed to en gros), a commercial term used where we would today use retail, expanded the senses of the noun. Meaning "a minute account or narrative" is from 1690s; that of "an individual part, a particular" is from 1786. In fine arts, "a small, subordinate part," by 1823.
Military sense of "selection of an individual or body of troops for a particular service" is from 1708, from the notion of "distribution in detail of the daily orders first given in general," including assignment of specific duties.
mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from Old French légal "legal" (14c.) or directly from Latin legalis "pertaining to the law," from lex (genitive legis) "an enactment; a precept, regulation, principle, rule; formal proposition for a law, motion, bill; a contract, arrangement, contrivance." This probably is related to legere "to gather," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')." Perhaps the noun is from the verb on the notion of "a collection of rules," but de Vaan seems to imply that the evolution is the reverse:
The verb legare and its compounds all have a meaning which involves a 'task, assignment,' and can therefore be interpreted as derivatives of lex 'law.' The [Proto-Italic] root noun *leg- 'law' can be interpreted as a 'collection' of rules. Whether the root noun existed already in PIE is uncertain for lack of precise cognates.
Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. Related: Legally. Not etymologically related to law (n.), q.v. The usual Old French form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legal tender "money which the creditor is bound by law to accept" is from 1740 (see tender (n.2)). A legal holiday (1867) is one established by statute or proclamation and during which government business is usually suspended.
Old English wæcce "a watching, state of being or remaining awake, wakefulness;" also "act or practice of refraining from sleep for devotional or penitential purposes;" from wæccan "keep watch, be awake," from Proto-Germanic *wakjan, from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively."
From c. 1200 as "one of the periods into which the night is divided," in reference to ancient times translating Latin vigilia, Greek phylake, Hebrew ashmoreth. From mid-13c. as "a shift of guard duty; an assignment as municipal watchman;" late 13c. as "person or group obligated to patrol a town (especially at night) to keep order, etc."
Also in Middle English, "the practice of remaining awake at night for purposes of debauchery and dissipation;" hence wacches of wodnesse "late-night revels and debauchery." The alliterative combination watch and ward preserves the old distinction of watch for night-time municipal patrols and ward for guarding by day; in combination, they meant "continuous vigilance."
Military sense of "military guard, sentinel" is from late 14c. General sense of "careful observation, watchfulness, vigilance" is from late 14c.; to keep watch is from late 14c. Meaning "period of time in which a division of a ship's crew remains on deck" is from 1580s. The meaning "small timepiece" is from 1580s, developing from that of "a clock to wake up sleepers" (mid-15c.).
The Hebrews divided the night into three watches, the Greeks usually into four (sometimes five), the Romans (followed by the Jews in New Testament times) into four. [OED]
On þis niht beð fowuer niht wecches: Biforen euen þe bilimpeð to children; Mid-niht ðe bilimpeð to frumberdlinges; hanecrau þe bilimpeð þowuene men; morgewile to alde men. [Trinity Homilies, c. 1200]
c. 1500, "a literary work (originally in verse) intended to ridicule prevailing vice or folly by scornful or contemptuous expression," from French satire (14c.) and directly from Latin satira "satire; poetic medley," earlier satura, in lanx satura "mixed dish, dish filled with various kinds of fruit," literally "full dish," from fem. of satur "sated" (from PIE root *sa- "to satisfy").
The word acquired its literary sense, in Latin, in reference to a collection of poems in various meters on a variety of subjects by the late republican poet Ennius. The little that survives of his verse does not now seem particularly satiric, but in classical Latin the word was used especially of a poem which assailed various vices one after another.
In modern general use, "a denouncing or deriding speech or writing full of sarcasm, ridicule, irony, etc." (all of which can express satire). The broader meaning "fact or circumstance that makes someone or something look ridiculous" is by 1690s.
Satire, n. An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author's enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are 'endowed by their Creator' with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly regarded as a sour-spirited knave, and his every victim's outcry for codefendants evokes a national assent. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
Proper satire is distinguished, by the generality of the reflections, from a lampoon which is aimed against a particular person, but they are too frequently confounded. [Johnson]
[I]n whatever department of human expression, wherever there is objective truth there is satire [Wyndham Lewis, "Rude Assignment," 1950]