late 13c., "a gift, a reward, a favor bestowed freely;" c. 1300, "goodness, virtue; beauty; ; excellence; knightly prowess, strength, valor, chivalry," early 14c., "a helpful act, an act of generosity, a good deed," also "liberality in giving, generosity, munificence," from Anglo-French bountee, Old French bonte "goodness" (12c., Modern French bonté), from Latin bonitatem (nominative bonitas) "goodness," from bonus "good" (see bonus).
Sense of "gift bestowed by a sovereign or the state" led to extended senses of "premium or gratuity to a military recruit" (1702) and "reward for killing or taking a criminal or enemy" (1764) or dangerous animal (1847). Bounty-jumper "one who enlists in the military, collects the bounty, and flees without reporting for duty" is from the American Civil War (by 1864). Bounty-hunter is from 1893, American English, originally in reference to wild animals.
I do ... promise, that there shall be paid ... the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed .... ["Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania," 1764]
It forms all or part of: beatific; beatify; beatitude; Beatrice; beau; beauty; Bella; belle; beldam; belladonna; belvedere; bene-; benedict; Benedictine; benediction; benefactor; beneficiary; benefice; beneficence; benefit; benevolent; benign; bonanza; bonbon; bonhomie; bonito; bonjour; bonny; bonus; boon (adj.); bounty; debonair; embellish.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin bene (adv.) "well, in the right way, honorably, properly," bonus "good," bellus "handsome, fine, pretty," and possibly beatus "blessed," beare "to make blessed."
island in the central South Pacific, named 1767 by the commander of the British ship that found it for teen-aged midshipman Robert Pitcairn, who was first to sight it. Settled 1790 by mutineers from the Bounty and their Polynesian captives. Related: Pitcairnese.
also largess, "willingness to give or spend freely; munificence," c. 1200, from Old French largesse, largece "a bounty, munificence," from Vulgar Latin *largitia "abundance" (source also of Spanish largueza, Italian larghezza), from Latin largus "abundant, large, liberal" (see large). In medieval theology, "the virtue whose opposite is avarice, and whose excess is prodigality" [The Middle English Compendium]. For Old French suffix -esse, compare fortress. Related: Largation.
c. 1300, plenteivous, "fertile, fruitful, prolific," from Old French plentivos, plentiveus "fertile, rich" (early 13c.), from plentif "abundant," from plentee "abundance" (see plenty). From late 14c. as "abundant, plentiful, copious." Modern form by late 14c. Related: Plenteously; plenteousness.
plenteous, -iful. As with other pairs in -eous & -iful (e.g. from bounty, beauty, duty, pity), the meaning of the two is the same, but the -eous word is the less common & therefore better suited to the needs of poetry & exalted prose ; for these it should be reserved. [Fowler, 1926]
"forcible resistance of or revolt against constituted authority on the part of subordinates," especially "a revolt of soldiers or seamen against their commanding officers," 1560s, with noun suffix -y (4) + obsolete verb mutine "revolt" (1540s), from French mutiner "to revolt," from meutin "rebellious," from meute "a revolt, movement," from Vulgar Latin *movita "a military uprising," from fem. past participle of Latin movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away"). The Mutiny on the Bounty took place in 1789.
1650s as a type of surgical instrument; 1760 as "one who takes or removes scalps," agent noun from scalp (v.).
The meaning "person who re-sells tickets at unauthorized prices for a profit" is by 1869 in American English; the earliest reference is to theater tickets, but it more often was used late 19c. of brokers who sold unused portions of railway tickets. [Railways charged less per mile for longer-distance tickets; therefore someone traveling from New York to Chicago could buy a ticket to San Francisco, get out at Chicago and sell it to a scalper, and come away with more money than if he had simply bought a ticket to Chicago; the Chicago scalper would hold the ticket till he found someone looking for a ticket to San Francisco, then sell it to him at a slight advance, but for less than the official price.]
Perhaps from scalp (v.) in some sense; scalper was a generic term for "con man, cheater" in late 19c. Or perhaps the connecting sense is the bounty offered for scalps of certain destructive animals (attested in New England from 1703) and the notion is "one who holds only part of something, but still gets a reward." Some, though, see a connection rather to scalpel, the surgical instrument.