Etymology
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imprint (v.)

formerly also emprint, late 14c., imprenten, emprenten, "to mark by pressure, stamp; to impress on the mind or memory," from Old French empreinter "to stamp, engrave, imprint," from empreinte "mark, impression, imprint" (13c.), noun use of fem. past participle of eimpreindre "to impress, imprint," from Vulgar Latin *impremere, from Latin imprimere "to impress, imprint," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike").

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imprint (n.)
mid-15c., emprente "an imprint or mark, impression made by printing or stamping," from Old French empreinte "mark, impression, imprint" (see imprint (v.)). Meaning "publication information of a book" (1790) is directly from the verb.
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trace (n.1)
"track made by passage of a person or thing," c. 1300, from Old French trace "mark, imprint, tracks" (12c.), back-formation from tracier (see trace (v.)). Scientific sense of "indication of minute presence in some chemical compound" is from 1827. Traces "vestiges" is from c. 1400.
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signal (n.)
late 14c., "visible sign, indication," from Old French signal, seignal "seal, imprint, sign, mark," from Medieval Latin signale "a signal," from Late Latin signalis (adj.) "used as a signal, pertaining to a sign," from Latin signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Restricted sense "agreed-upon sign (to commence or desist, etc.) is from 1590s. Meaning "modulation of an electric current" is from 1855.
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impress (v.1)

late 14c., "have a strong effect on the mind or heart, to stamp deeply in the mind," from Latin impressus, past participle of imprimere "press into or upon, stamp," also figurative, from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). Literal sense of "to apply with pressure, make a permanent image in, indent, imprint" is from early 15c. in English. Related: Impressed; impressing.

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puncheon (n.1)

"barrel or cask for soap or liquor; iron vessel," according to Century Dictionary ranging from 72 to 120 gallons, c. 1400, from Old French ponchon, ponson "wine vessel" (13c.), of unknown origin.

Formally identical with puncheon (n.2) "pointed tool for punching or piercing," "but connexion of sense has not been found" [OED] and the best guess at it seems to be from the stamp or imprint impressed on the barrel via a puncheon. Uncertain connection with another puncheon "short slab of timber, strut, vertical wooden beam used as a support in building" (mid-14c., from Old French ponson, ponchon), which Middle English Compendium regards as identical. Punch (n.2) in the drink sense is too late to be the source of the "cask" sense.

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stamp (n.)

mid-15c., "instrument for crushing, stamping tool," from stamp (v.). Especially "instrument for making impressions" (1570s). The meaning "downward thrust or blow with the foot, act of stamping" is from 1580s.

The sense of "official mark or imprint" (to certify that duty has been paid on what has been printed or written) dates from 1540s; it was transferred 1837 to designed, pre-printed adhesive labels issued by governments to serve the same purpose as impressed stamps. U.S. postage stamps were issued under the Post Office Act of March 3, 1847; Britain had them earlier, under the Postage Act of 1839. German Stempel "rubber stamp, brand, postmark" represents a diminutive form. Stamp-collecting is by 1862 (compare philately).

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crown (n.)

early 12c., coroune, croune, "royal crown, ornament for the head as a symbol of sovereignty," from Anglo-French coroune, Old French corone (13c., Modern French couronne) and directly from Latin corona "crown," originally "wreath, garland," related to Greek korōnē "anything curved, a kind of crown."

According to Watkins this is from a suffixed form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend." But Beekes considers the "crown" sense as derived from the formally identical Greek word korōnē "crow" (see raven), which, he says, was used metaphorically "of all kinds of curved or hook-formed objects." "Moreover," he writes, "the metaphorical use of [korōnē] 'crow' is nothing remarkable given the use of its cognates ...; the metaphors may have originated from the shape of the beak or the claws of the bird." Compare Latin corax "crow," also "a hooked engine of war," French corbeau "raven," also "cantilever;" English crowbar, etc.

 

Old English used corona, directly from Latin. Figuratively, "regal power," from c. 1200. From late 14c. as "a crowning honor or distinction." From c. 1300 as "top part of the skull or head;" from 1670s as "top of a hat." From 1804 as "part of a tooth which appears above the gum."

Extended late 14c. to "coin bearing the imprint of a crown or a crowned head," especially the British silver 5-shilling piece. Also the name of monetary units in Iceland, Sweden (krona), Norway, Denmark (krone), and formerly in German Empire and Austria-Hungary (krone). Crown of thorns was late Old English þornene crune.

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form (n.)
c. 1200, forme, fourme, "semblance, image, likeness," from Old French forme, fourme, "physical form, appearance; pleasing looks; shape, image; way, manner" (12c.), from Latin forma "form, contour, figure, shape; appearance, looks; a fine form, beauty; an outline, a model, pattern, design; sort, kind condition," a word of unknown origin. One theory holds that it is from or cognate with Greek morphe "form, beauty, outward appearance" (see Morpheus) via Etruscan [Klein].

From c. 1300 as "physical shape (of something), contour, outline," of a person, "shape of the body;" also "appearance, likeness;" also "the imprint of an object." From c. 1300 as "correct or appropriate way of doing something; established procedure; traditional usage; formal etiquette." Mid-14c. as "instrument for shaping; a mould;" late 14c. as "way in which something is done," also "pattern of a manufactured object." Used widely from late 14c. in theology and Platonic philosophy with senses "archetype of a thing or class; Platonic essence of a thing; the formative principle." From c. 1300 in law, "a legal agreement; terms of agreement," later "a legal document" (mid-14c.). Meaning "a document with blanks to be filled in" is from 1855. From 1590s as "systematic or orderly arrangement;" from 1610s as "mere ceremony." From 1550s as "a class or rank at school" (from sense "a fixed course of study," late 14c.). Form-fitting (adj.) in reference to clothing is from 1893.
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character (n.)
Origin and meaning of character

mid-14c., carecter, "symbol marked or branded on the body;" mid-15c., "symbol or drawing used in sorcery;" late 15c., "alphabetic letter, graphic symbol standing for a sound or syllable;" from Old French caratere "feature, character" (13c., Modern French caractère), from Latin character, from Greek kharaktēr "engraved mark," also "symbol or imprint on the soul," properly "instrument for marking," from kharassein "to engrave," from kharax "pointed stake," a word of uncertain etymology which Beekes considers "most probably Pre-Greek."  The Latin ch- spelling was restored from 1500s.

The meaning of Greek kharaktēr was extended in Hellenistic times by metaphor to "a defining quality, individual feature." In English, the meaning "sum of qualities that define a person or thing and distinguish it from another" is from 1640s. That of "moral qualities assigned to a person by repute" is from 1712.

You remember Eponina, who kept her husband alive in an underground cavern so devotedly and heroically? The force of character she showed in keeping up his spirits would have been used to hide a lover from her husband if they had been living quietly in Rome. Strong characters need strong nourishment. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822] 

Sense of "person in a play or novel" is first attested 1660s, in reference to the "defining qualities" he or she is given by the author. Meaning "a person" in the abstract is from 1749; especially "eccentric person" (1773). Colloquial sense of "chap, fellow" is from 1931. Character-actor, one who specializes in characters with marked peculiarities, is attested from 1861; character-assassination is from 1888; character-building (n.) from 1886.

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