"contraceptive sheath," 1706, traditionally named for a British physician during reign of Charles II (a story traceable to 1709), but there is no evidence for that. Also spelled condam, quondam, which suggests it may be from Italian guantone, from guanto "a glove." A word omitted in the original OED (c. 1890) and not used openly in the U.S. and not advertised in mass media until the November 1986 speech by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop on AIDS prevention. Compare prophylactic.
Middle English shethe, "close-fitting case or covering for a blade," from Old English sceaþ, scæþ, from Proto-Germanic *skaith- (source also of Old Saxon scethia, Old Norse skeiðir (plural), Old Frisian skethe, Middle Dutch schede, Dutch schede, Old High German skaida, German scheide "a sheath, scabbard"), perhaps from an extended form of PIE root *skei- "to cut, split," on the notion of a split stick with the sword blade inserted.
Extended to any somewhat similar tube-like covering by 1550s; the meaning "condom" is recorded from 1861; the sense of "close-fitting dress or skirt" is attested from 1904.
1570s, of medicines, "that tends to prevent or defend from disease," from French prophylactique (16c.) and directly as a Latinized borrowing of Greek prophylaktikos "precautionary," from prophylassein "keep guard before, ward off, be on one's guard," from pro "before" (see pro-) + phylassein, Ionic variant of phylattein "to watch over, to guard," but also "cherish, keep, remain in, preserve," from phylax "guard," a word of unknown origin.
The noun is first recorded 1640s, "a medicine or treatment to prevent or defend against disease;" meaning "condom" is from 1943, replacing earlier preventive (1822), preventative (1901). Condoms originally were used more to thwart contagious disease than to prevent pregnancy. Related: Prophylactical.
1714, "joint rule or sovereignty, ownership exclusive of all except the co-owners," from Modern Latin condominium "joint sovereignty," apparently coined in German c. 1700 from Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + dominium "right of ownership, property, dominion," from dominus "lord, master, owner," from domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").
A word in politics and international law until sense of "privately owned apartment" arose in American English 1962 as a special use of the legal term.
c. 1200, frensh, frenche, "pertaining to France or the French," from Old English frencisc "French," originally "of the Franks," from franca, the people name (see Frank). A similar contraction of -ish is in Dutch, Scotch, Welsh, suggesting the habit applies to the names of only the intimate neighbors.
In some provincial forms of English it could mean simply "foreign." Used in many combination-words, often dealing with food or sex: French dressing (by 1860); French toast (1630s); French letter "condom" (c. 1856, perhaps on resemblance of sheepskin and parchment), french (v.) "perform oral sex on," and French kiss (1923) all probably stem from the Anglo-Saxon equation of Gallic culture and sexual sophistication, a sense first recorded 1749 in the phrase French novel. (In late 19c.-early 20c., a French kiss was a kiss on each cheek.) French-Canadian is from 1774; French doors is by 1847. To take French leave, "depart without telling the host," is 1771, from a social custom then prevalent. However, this is said to be called in France filer à l'anglaise, literally "to take English leave."
1530s, "thing that rubs" (a brush, cloth, etc.), agent noun from rub (v.). By c. 1600 as "one who applies friction or massage in some process."
The meaning "elastic substance from tropical plants" is recorded by 1788, short for India rubber. Earlier known also as catouchou, caoutchouc, it was introduced to Europe 1744 by Charles Marie de la Condamine, so called because it originally was used to erase pencil marks from paper, etc. Later extended to synthetic substances having the same qualities.
This substance is very useful in drawing, &c., for erasing the strokes of black lead pencils, and is popularly called rubber, and lead-eater. [from the entry for Caoutchouc in George Selby Howard, "New Royal Cyclopaedia," 1788]
The meaning "an overshoe made of rubber" is 1842, American English; slang sense of "contraceptive sheath, condom" is by 1930s. As an adjective by 1844, "In very common use from about 1875" [OED]. Some figurative phrases are from the notion of rubber automobile tires.
Rubber cement "adhesive compound containing rubber" is attested from 1856 (from 1823 as India-rubber cement). Rubber check (one that "bounces") is from 1927. The decorative household rubber plant is so called by 1876 (earlier India-rubber plant, by 1805). Rubber-chicken circuit "after-dinner speaking tour" is by 1959, in reference to the likely quality of the food.