late 14c., "solemn rite or ceremony," from Old French celebrité "celebration" or directly from Latin celibritatem (nominative celebritas) "multitude, fame," from celeber "frequented, populous" (see celebrate). Meaning "condition of being famous" is from c. 1600; that of "a famous person" is from 1849.
When the old gods withdraw, the empty thrones cry out for a successor, and with good management, or even without management, almost any perishable bag of bones may be hoisted into the vacant seat. [E.R. Dodds, "The Greeks and the Irrational"]
"much-talked-about, having celebrity, famous," 1660s, past-participle adjective from celebrate (v.).
also over-exposure, "excessive exposure; an excess of exposure," 1834 in reference to cleavage in women's dress; 1855 in photography, from over- + exposure. Figurative sense, in reference to celebrity, is attested from 1969.
by 1931, in reference to the page of a newspaper opposite the editorial page, usually devoted to personal opinion columns and criticism. The thing itself dates to 1921 at the New York "World" and was the brainchild of editor Herbert Bayard Swope, whose op-ed pages launched the celebrity of many of the Algonquin Round Table writers.
c. 1300, clarte, clerte "brightness, radiance; glory, splendor," from Old French clerte, clartet (Modern French clarté) "clarity, brightness," from Latin claritas "brightness, splendor," also, of sounds, "clearness;" figuratively "celebrity, renown, fame," from clarare "make clear," from clarus "clear" (see clear (adj.)).
Modern form is first attested early 15c., perhaps a reborrowing directly from Latin. Original senses are obsolete; meaning "clearness" (of color, judgment, style, etc.) is from mid-15c.