1610s, "of or belonging to the highest class; approved as a model," from French classique (17c.), from Latin classicus "relating to the (highest) classes of the Roman people," hence, "superior," from classis (see class (n.)). Originally in English, "of the first class;" meaning "belonging to or characteristic of standard authors of Greek and Roman antiquity" is attested from 1620s.
"a Greek or Roman writer or work," 1711, from classic (adj.). So, by mid-18c., any work or author in any context held to have a similar quality or relationship; an artist or literary production of the first rank. In classical Latin the noun use of classicus meant "a marine" (miles classicus) from the "military division" sense of classis.
Classicism criticises; romanticism creates. Classicism enjoins self-control; romanticism encourages self-indulgence. Classicism is mold; romanticism is matter. Classicism is art; romanticism is nature. Classicism is law; romanticism is life. Romanticism is undoubtedly first and indispensable; but so, not less, classicism is indispensable, though second. [William C. Wilkinson, "Classic French Course in English," 1890]
[I]n general, as now used, the term classical includes the composers active in instrumental music from somewhere about 1700 to say 1830. Hence the list includes among the great names those of Bach, his sons, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi, Dussek, Pleyel, Cramer, etc. The next step beyond the term classical is "modern romantic," the composers of which school may be taken to include all the writers for pianoforte from about 1829 (when Mendelssohn published the first "Songs without Words") down to the present. The term romantic in this sense means strongly marked, extraordinary, intending to tell stories and the like. ["Music, Its Ideals and Methods," W.S.B. Mathews, 1897]
But already by 1880s it was acknowledged the term had a double sense: Music that had withstood the test of time, as well as music of a style contrasted to "romantic." Later (early 20c.) it was contrasted to jazz (in this sense more often with reference to the orchestras than to the music itself). Still later it stood in contrast to popular music generally (mid-20c.). Classical history is the history of ancient Greece and Rome; ancient history is the history of mankind from the earliest reliable records to the fall of Rome (476 C.E.). Related: Classically.
also hutzpah, 1892, from Yiddish khutspe "impudence, gall," from Hebrew hutspah. The classic definition is that given by Leo Rosten: "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."
"pertaining to or dealing with rogues or knaves and their adventures," especially in literary productions, 1810, from Spanish picaresco "roguish," from picaro "rogue," a word of uncertain origin, possibly from picar "to pierce," from Vulgar Latin *piccare (see pike (n.1)). Originally in roman picaresque "rogue novel," the classic example being "Gil Blas."
bite-sized square pasta packet containing various food, a classic Italian dish, 1610s, from Middle English raffyolys, also rafyols (late 14c.). The word probably was re-borrowed several times, most recently in 1841, from Italian ravioli, a dialectal plural of raviolo, a diminutive of an unidentified noun, perhaps of rava "turnip" (presuming they were among the original ingredients) or Genoese dialect rabiole "leftovers, odds and ends."