as an annual ecological awareness event on April 22, from 1970; the idea for it and the name date from 1969.
in Greek religion, the Olympian goddess of agriculture and useful vegetation, protectress of the social order and of marriage, mother of Persephone, from Greek Dēmētēr; the second element generally given as māter (see mother (n.1)); the first element possibly from da, Doric form of Greek gē "earth" (see Gaia), but Liddell & Scott find this "improbable" and Beekes writes, "there is no indication that [da] means 'earth', although it has also been assumed in the name of Poseidon." The Latin masc. proper name Demetrius means "son of Demeter."
Latinized form of name of Mikolaj Koppernigk (1473-1543), Prussian Polish physician and canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg who promulgated the theory that the Earth and the planets revolve about the sun. His great work was "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium." Related: Copernican (1660s).
"the sea between southern Europe and northern Africa," 1590s, earlier Mediterranie (c. 1400), from Late Latin Mediterraneum mare "Mediterranean Sea" (7c.), from Latin mediterraneus "midland, surrounded by land, in the midst of an expanse of land" (but in reference to the body of water between Europe and African the sense probably was "the sea in the middle of the earth"); from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + terra "land, earth" (from PIE root *ters- "to dry").
The Old English name was Wendel-sæ, so called for the Vandals, Germanic tribe that settled on the southwest coast of it after the fall of Rome. The noun meaning "a person of Mediterranean race" is by 1888.