1550s, Liturgy, "the service of the Holy Eucharist," from French liturgie (16c.) or directly from Late Latin/Medieval Latin liturgia "public service, public worship," from Greek leitourgia "a liturgy; public duty, ministration, ministry," from leitourgos "one who performs a public ceremony or service, public servant," from leito- "public" (from laos "people;" compare leiton "public hall," leite "priestess;" see lay (adj.)) + -ourgos "that works," from ergon "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to do"). Meaning "collective formulas for the conduct of divine service in Christian churches" is from 1590s. Related: Liturgist; liturgics.
In ancient Greece, particularly at Athens, a form of personal service to the state which citizens possessing property to a certain amount were bound, when called upon, to perform at their own cost. These liturgies were ordinary, including the presentation of dramatic performances, musical and poetic contests, etc., the celebration of some festivals, and other public functions entailing expense upon the incumbent; or extraordinary, as the fitting out of a trireme In case of war. [Century Dictionary]
"of or pertaining to a liturgy," in a wider sense, "pertaining to worship or religious ceremonies," 1640s, from Late Latin liturgicus, from New Testament Greek leitourgikos "ministering," from leitourgos (see liturgy).
"mass for repose of the soul of the dead," c. 1300, from Latin requiem, accusative singular of requiescere "rest (after labor), be idle, repose," from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + quiescere "to repose, rest, sleep," from quies "quiet" (from suffixed form of PIE root *kweie- "to rest, be quiet"). It is the first word of the Mass for the Dead in the Latin liturgy: Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine .... ["Rest eternal grant them, O Lord ...."]. By 1610s as "any dirge or solemn chant for repose of the dead."
c. 1300, respounse, "an answer, a reply," from Old French respons (Modern French réponse) and directly from Latin responsum "an answer," noun use of neuter past participle of respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + spondere "to pledge" (see sponsor (n.)).
The transferred sense, of feelings or actions, is from 1815 in poetry and psychology. The meaning "a part of the liturgy said or sung by the congregation in reply to the priest" is by 1650s. Response time attested from 1958.
"eucharistic service," Middle English messe, masse, from Old English mæsse, from Vulgar Latin *messa "eucharistic service," literally "dismissal," from Late Latin missa "dismissal," fem. past participle of mittere "to let go, send" (see mission).
Probably so called from the concluding words of the service, Ite, missa est, "Go, (the prayer) has been sent," or "Go, it is the dismissal." The Latin word sometimes was glossed in Old English as sendnes "send-ness." Meaning "musical setting of certain parts of the Catholic (or Anglican) liturgy" is by 1590s.
a Greek word used in various senses in English; from Greek prothesis "a putting, a placing before, a placing in public," from pro "before" (see pro-) + thesis "a placing" (from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). In the ecclesiastical sense ("preparation of the eucharistic elements before the liturgy in the Greek Church") from 1670s; grammatical sense ("addition of one or more sounds or letters at the beginning of a word") is by 1870. Related: Prothetic (1835 in grammar); prothetical; prothetically.
c. 1300, rinsen, rincen, "subject to light washing; wash with water only" (originally in liturgy; from mid-13c. in surname Rinsfet), from Old French reincier (transitive) "to wash, cleanse" (12c., Modern French rincer), probably a dissimilation of recincier, from Vulgar Latin *recentiare "to make fresh, to wash, cleanse with water," from Late Latin recentare "to make fresh," from Latin recens "new, fresh" (see recent). OED says any similarity in form and sense with Old Norse hreinsa is "prob[ably] accidental."
In general use, of bowls, cups, etc., c. 1400; the meaning "wash (laundry) a second time to remove remaining impurities, soap, etc. that may have been left" is by c. 1500. Related: Rinsed; rinsing.
c. 1200, "solemn prayer of supplication," from Old French letanie (13c., Modern French litanie) and directly from Medieval Latin letania, Late Latin litania (source also of Spanish letania, Italian litania), from Greek litaneia "prayer, an entreating," from lite "prayer, supplication, entreaty," a word of unknown origin. From the notion of monotonous enumeration of petitions in Christian prayer services came the generalized sense of "repeated series" (early 19c.), which originated in French.
For those who know the Greek words, a litany is a series of prayers, a liturgy is a canon of public service; the latter in practice includes prayer, but does not say so. [Fowler]
c. 1300, saveour, "one who delivers or rescues from peril," also a title of Jesus Christ, from Old French sauveour, from Late Latin salvatorem (nominative salvator) "a saver, preserver," originally and chiefly Church Latin, with reference to Christ (source also of Spanish salvador, Italian salvatore), from salvatus, past participle of salvare "to save" (see save (v.)). In the New Testament used of both Jesus and God.
In the Christian sense, the Latin noun is a translation of Greek sōtēr "savior." In English, it replaced Old English hælend, literally "healing," likely a loan-translation from Latin, a noun use of the present participle of hælan (see heal). Middle English also had salvatour "Jesus Christ," also "a rescuer" (c. 1300) from the Latin, and compare saver. The conservatism of liturgy sustained the -our spelling (see -or).
The old spelling saviour still prevails even where other nouns in -our, esp. agent-nouns, are now spelled with -or, the form savior being regarded by some as irreverent. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
Old English godspel "glad tidings announced by Jesus; one of the four gospels," literally "good spell," from god "good" (see good (adj.)) + spel "story, message" (see spell (n.1)). A translation of Latin bona adnuntiatio, itself a translation of Greek euangelion "reward for bringing good news" (see evangel). The first element of the Old English word originally had a long "o," but it shifted under mistaken association with God, as if "God-story" (i.e. the history of Christ).
The mistake was very natural, as the resulting sense was much more obviously appropriate than that of 'good tidings' for a word which was chiefly known as the name of a sacred book or of a portion of the liturgy. [OED]
The word passed early from English to continental Germanic languages in forms that clearly indicate the first element had shifted to "God," such as Old Saxon godspell, Old High German gotspell, Old Norse goðspiall. Used of anything as true as the Gospel from mid-13c.; as "any doctrine maintained as of exclusive importance" from 1650s. As an adjective from 1640s. Gospel music is by 1955. Gospel-gossip was Addison's word ("Spectator," 1711) for "one who is always talking of sermons, texts, etc."