late 14c., orisoun, from Old French orizon (14c., Modern French horizon), earlier orizonte (13c.), from Latin horizontem (nominative horizon), from Greek horizon (kyklos) "bounding (circle)," from horizein "bound, limit, divide, separate," from horos "boundary, landmark, marking stones." The h- was restored in English 17c. in imitation of Latin. Old English used eaggemearc ("eye-mark") for "limit of view, horizon." The apparent horizon is distinguished from the celestial or astronomical horizon.
1550s, "relating to or near the horizon," from French horizontal, from Latin horizontem (see horizon). Meaning "flat" (i.e., "parallel to the horizon") is from 1630s. As a noun also from 1550s. Related: horizontally.
1580s, the tense of Greek verbs that most closely corresponds to the simple past in English, from Greek aoristos (khronos) "indefinite (tense)," from aoristos "without boundaries, undefined, indefinite," from assimilated form of a- "not" (see a- (3)) + horistos "limited, defined," verbal adjective from horizein "to limit, define," from horos "boundary, limit, border" (see horizon). Related: Aoristic.
1520s, "concise statement of a principle" (especially in reference to the "Aphorisms of Hippocrates"), from French aphorisme (corrected from Old French aufforisme, 14c.), from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos "definition; short, pithy sentence," from aphorizein "to mark off, divide," from apo "from" (see apo-) + horizein "to bound" (see horizon).
The general sense of "short, pithy statement containing a truth of general import" (e.g. "life is short, and art is long") is from 1580s in English. Distinguished from an axiom, which is a statement of self-evident truth; an epigram is like an aphorism, but lacking in general import. Maxim and saying can be used as synonyms for aphorism, but maxims tend to be practical than aphorisms, and sayings tend to be more commonplace and have an author's name attached.
[F]or aphorisms, except they should be ridiculous, cannot be made but of the pith and heart of sciences ; for discourse of illustration is cut off ; recitals of examples are cut off ; discourse of connexion and order is cut off ; descriptions of practice are cut off. So there remaineth nothing to fill the aphorisms but some good quantity of observation : and therefore no man can suffice, nor in reason will attempt, to write aphorisms, but he that is sound and grounded. [Francis Bacon, "The Advancement of Learning," 1605]
imaginary earthly paradise, by 1938, from Shangri-La, name of Tibetan utopia in James Hilton's novel "Lost Horizon" (1933, film version 1937). In Tibetan, la means "mountain pass."
late 14c., "elevation above the horizon" (of stars, planets), from Latin altitudinem (nominative altitudo) "height, altitude," from altus "high" (literally "grown tall," from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish"). The general sense of "space upward, height, vertical extent" is from early 15c. Related: Altitudinal; altitudinous.
late 14c., ascendent, in astrology, "rising over the horizon," from Latin ascendentem (nominative ascendans), present participle of ascendere "to mount, ascend, go up" (see ascend). The sense "moving upward, rising" is recorded from 1590s.
As a noun in astrology, "point of the ecliptic or sign of the zodiac which is on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth." The planet that rules the ascendant is believed to have predominant influence on the horoscope. Hence in the ascendant "ruling, dominant" (not, as is often thought, "rising"), 1670s, and the adjective meaning "superior, dominant," 1806.