masc. proper name, also Charley, familiar form of Charles (also see -y (3)); 1965 in Vietnam War U.S. military slang for "Vietcong, Vietcong soldier," probably suggested by Victor Charlie, military communication code for V.C. (as abbreviation of Viet Cong), perhaps strengthened by World War II slang use of Charlie for Japanese soldiers, which itself is probably an extension of the 1930s derogatory application of Charlie to any Asian man, from fictional Chinese detective Charlie Chan.
Other applications include "a London night watchman" (1812); "a goatee beard" (1834, from portraits of King Charles I and his contemporaries); "a fox" (1857); in plural "a woman's breasts" (1874); "an infantryman's pack" (World War I); and "a white man" (Mr. Charlie), 1960, American English, from Black vernacular.
1944, from bebop, rebop, bop, nonsense words in jazz lyrics, attested from at least 1928. The style is associated with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
1921, of, resembling, or in the style of Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), British-born silent movie star. The surname is attested from c. 1200, from Old French chapelain "priest."
mid-14c. (mid-13c. as a surname, Walter le Onorable, also known as Walter Honurable), "worthy of respect or reverence, respectable," also "signifying or rendering distinction or respect; ensuring good repute or honor," from Old French onorable, honorable "respectable, respectful, civil, courteous," from Latin honorabilis "that procures honor, estimable, honorable," from honorare "to honor," from honor (see honor (n.)). Meaning "honest, sincere, in good faith" is from 1540s; sense of "acting justly" is from c. 1600.
"Now, George, you must divide the cake honorably with your brother Charlie."—George: "What is 'honorably,' mother?" "It means that you must give him the largest piece."—George: "Then, mother, I should rather Charlie would cut it." ["Smart Sayings of Bright Children," collected by Howard Paul, 1886]
As an epithet before the name of a peer, Church or civil official, guild officer, etc., from c.1400. As a noun, "honorable person," late 14c. Alternative adjective honorous (Old French honoros) seems not to have survived Middle English. Related: Honorably; honorableness.
Old English ald (Anglian), eald (West Saxon, Kentish) "antique, of ancient origin, belonging to antiquity, primeval; long in existence or use; near the end of the normal span of life; elder, mature, experienced," from Proto-Germanic *althaz "grown up, adult" (source also of Old Frisian ald, Gothic alþeis, Dutch oud, German alt), originally a past-participle stem of a verb meaning "grow, nourish" (compare Gothic alan "to grow up," Old Norse ala "to nourish"), from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish." The original Old English vowel is preserved in Scots auld, also in alderman. The original comparative and superlative (elder, eldest) are retained in particular uses.
The usual PIE root is *sen- (see senior (adj.)). A few Indo-European languages distinguish words for "old" (vs. young) from words for "old" (vs. new), and some have separate words for aged persons as opposed to old things. Latin senex was used of aged living things, mostly persons, while vetus (literally "having many years") was used of inanimate things. Greek geraios was used mostly of humans; palaios was used mostly of things, of persons only in a derogatory sense. Greek also had arkhaios, literally "belonging to the beginning," which parallels French ancien, used mostly with reference to things "of former times."
Old English also had fyrn "ancient," which is related to Old English feor "far, distant" (see far, and compare Gothic fairneis, Old Norse forn "old, of old, of former times," Old High German firni "old, experienced").
Meaning "of a specified age" (three days old) is from late Old English. Sense of "pertaining to or characteristic of the earlier or earliest of two or more stages of development or periods of time" is from late Old English. As an intensive, "great, high," mid-15c., now only following another adjective (gay old time, good old Charlie Brown). As a noun, "those who are old," 12c. Of old "of old times" is from late 14c.
Old age "period of life of advanced years" is from early 14c. Old Testament is attested from mid-14c. (in late Old English it was old law). Old lady "wife, mother" is attested from c. 1775 (but compare Old English seo ealde hlæfdige "the queen dowager"). Old man "man who has lived long" is from late Old English; the sense of "husband, father, boss" is from 1854, earlier (1830) it was military slang for "commanding officer;" old boy as a familiar form of address is by c. 1600. Old days "former times" is from late Old English; good old days, "former times conceived as better than the present," sometimes ironic, is by 1670s. Old Light (adj.), in religion, "favoring the old faith or principles," is by 1819.