Etymology
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rate (n.)

early 15c., "estimated value or worth, proportional estimation according to some standard; monetary amount; a proportional part," from Old French rate "price, value" and directly from Medieval Latin rata (pars) "fixed (amount)," from Latin rata "fixed, settled," fem. past participle of reri "to reckon, think" (from PIE root *re- "to reason, count").

Meaning "degree of speed" (properly ratio between distance and time) is attested from 1650s. Currency exchange sense of "basis of equivalence upon which one currency is exchanged for another" is recorded by 1727. Meaning "fixed public tax assessed on property for some local purpose" is by 1712.

First-rate, second-rate, etc. are 1640s, from British Navy division of ships into six classes based on size and strength. Phrase at any rate originally (1610s) meant "at any cost," hence "positively, assuredly." weakened sense of "at least" is attested by 1760. Rate-payer "one who is assessed and pays a local tax" is by 1825.

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rate (v.2)

"estimate the worth or value of, reckon by comparative estimation," mid-15c., raten, from rate (n.). Intransitive sense of "have a certain value, rank, or standing" is from 1809; specifically as "have high value" by 1928. Related: Rated; rating.

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divorce (n.)

late 14c., "legal dissolution of the bond of marriage," from Old French divorce (14c.), from Latin divortium "separation, dissolution of marriage," from divertere "to separate, leave one's husband, turn aside" (see divert). Not distinguished in English from legal separation until mid-19c. Extended sense of "complete separation, absolute disjunction" is from early 15c.

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divorce (v.)

c. 1400, divorcen, "to put away or abandon (a spouse); to dissolve the marriage contract between by process of law," from Old French divorcer, from divorce (see divorce (n.)). Extended sense of "release or sever from any close connection" is from early 15c. Related: Divorced; divorcing.

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rate (v.1)

"to scold, chide vehemently, rebuke," late 14c., raten, probably from Old French rateir, variant of reter "to impute blame, accuse, find fault with," from Latin reputare "to count over, reflect," in Vulgar Latin, "to impute, blame," from re- "repeatedly" (see re-) + putare "to judge, suppose, believe, suspect" (originally "to clean, trim, prune," from PIE root *pau- (2) "to cut, strike, stamp"). Related: Rated; rating.

Old French reter also was borrowed into Middle English as retten "to blame" (c. 1300); also "to attribute, impute" (late 14c.), "to consider, think about" (late 14c.).

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poor-rate (n.)

"assessment or tax imposed by law for the relief or support of the poor in a particular community," c. 1600, from poor (n.) + rate (n.).

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birth-rate (n.)

also birthrate, "proportion of births to the number of inhabitants of a given district," 1859, from birth (n.) + rate (n.).

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second-rate (adj.)

"of a second class or group," 1660s, originally of ships, "of the second rate as to size, strength, etc.;" see rate (n.). Related: Second-rater.

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first-rate (adj.)

"of the highest excellence," 1660s, from first (adj.) + rate (n.) in a specific sense "class of warships in the British Navy." As a mere emphatic statement expressing excellence, by 1812. Colloquially, as a quasi-adverb, 1844.

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divorcee (n.)

"divorced woman," 1764, from French divorcée, noun use of fem. past participle of divorcer (see divorce (v.)). It began to lose its italics by the 1880s. The male equivalent in French is divorcé.

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