early 13c., damisele, "young, unmarried woman," especially a maiden of gentle birth, also "maid in waiting, handmaiden assisting a lady," from Anglo-French damaisele and Old French dameisele "woman of noble birth" (Modern French demoiselle "young lady"), modified (by association with dame) from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Roman *domnicella, diminutive of Latin domina "lady" (see dame). Archaic until revived by romantic poets, along with 16c.-17c. variant form damozel (which was used by Spenser). Damsel-fly for "dragon-fly" is by 1815, from a sense in French demoiselle.
"young lady, girl," 1510s, from French demoiselle (Old French damoisele, dameisele, dameiselle); an unmodified form of damsel (q.v.).
mid-15c., madamoisell, title applied to an unmarried Frenchwoman, formerly in France the title of any woman not of the nobility, from French mademoiselle (12c.), from a compound of ma dameisele (see damsel), literally "young mistress." Contracted form ma'amselle is attested from 1794, mamsell by 1842.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "house, household." It represents the usual Indo-European word for "house" (Italian, Spanish casa are from Latin casa "cottage, hut;" Germanic *hus is of obscure origin).
It forms all or part of: Anno Domini; belladonna; condominium; dame; damsel; dan "title of address to members of religious orders;" danger; dangerous; demesne; despot; Dom Perignon; domain; dome; domestic; domesticate; domicile; dominate; domination; dominion; domino; don (n.) "Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese title of respect;" Donna; dungeon; ma'am; madam; madame; mademoiselle; madonna; major-domo; predominant; predominate; timber; toft.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit damah "house;" Avestan demana- "house;" Greek domos "house," despotēs "master, lord;" Latin domus "house," dominus "master of a household;" Armenian tanu-ter "house-lord;" Old Church Slavonic domu, Russian dom "house;" Lithuanian dimstis "enclosed court, property;" Old Norse topt "homestead."
"woman accompanying and guiding a younger, unmarried lady in public," 1720, from French chaperon "protector," especially "female companion to a young woman," earlier "head covering, hood" (c. 1400), from Old French chaperon "hood, cowl" (12c.), diminutive of chape "cape" (see cap (n.)). "... English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination" [OED]. The notion is of "covering" the socially vulnerable one. The word had been used in Middle English in the literal sense "hooded cloak."
"May I ask what is a chaperon?"
"A married lady; without whom no unmarried one can be seen in public. If the damsel be five and forty, she cannot appear without the matron; and if the matron be fifteen, it will do."
[Catharine Hutton, "The Welsh Mountaineer," London, 1817]
late 14c., verbal noun from stand (v.). In the sense of "rank, status," it is first recorded 1570s. Sense of "state of having existed for some time" is 1650s. Legal sense is first recorded 1924. Sports sense is from 1881. To be in good standing is from 1789. Standing room is from 1788, originally in reference to theaters. SRO for "standing room only" is attested by 1890.
A young gentleman attempting to get into Drury-lane play-house, found there was such a croud of people that there was no room. Just without the door, a damsel of the town accosted him with 'can't you get in, sir?' to which he replied in the negative. 'If you'll go along with me, resumed she you may get in very easily, for I can furnish you with very good standing room.' ["The Banquet of Wit, or A Feast for the Polite World," London, 1790]
Old English cniht "boy, youth; servant, attendant," a word common to the nearby Germanic languages (Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht "boy, youth, lad," German Knecht "servant, bondman, vassal"), of unknown origin. For pronunciation, see kn-. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten.
Meaning "military follower of a king or other superior" is from c. 1100. It began to be used in a specific military sense in the Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility from 16c. Hence in modern British use, a social privilege or honorary dignity conferred by a sovereign as a reward, without regard for birth or deeds at arms. In 17c.-19c. a common jocularism was to call a craftsman or tradesman a knight of the and name some object associated with his work; e.g. knight of the brush for "painter." Knight in shining armor in the figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially "Lohengrin"). For knight-errant, see errant.
The horse-headed chess piece so called from mid-15c. Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864.