Middle English bodi, from Old English bodig "trunk of a man or beast; the whole physical structure of a human or animal; material frame, material existence of a human; main or principal part of anything," related to Old High German botah, but otherwise of unknown origin. Not elsewhere in Germanic, and the word has died out in German (replaced by Leib, originally "life," and Körper, from Latin), "but in English body remains as a great and important word" [OED].
The extension to "a person, a human being" is by c. 1300. The meaning "main part" of anything was in late Old English, hence its use in reference to vehicles (1520s). From 1580s as "part of the dress which covers the body."
It is attested from 1590s as "main part of a group, any number of individuals spoken of collectively" and from 1660s as "main portion of a document." Contrasted with soul at least since mid-13c. The meaning "corpse" ("dead body") is from c. 1200. The word was transferred to matter generally in Middle English (as in heavenly body, late 14c.).
Body politic "the nation, the state, whole body of people living under an organized government" is recorded from late 15c., with French word order. Body image was coined 1934. Body count "number of enemy killed in battle or otherwise" is from 1968, from the Vietnam War. Body language is attested from 1967, perhaps from French langage corporel (1966). Body-snatcher "one who secretly disinters the bodies of the recently dead for dissection" is from 1834. Defiant phrase over my dead body attested by 1833.
by 1916 as "one devoted to cultivating fitness and strength," used earlier in reference to healthful nutriments and coach-body makers. In the modern sense probably from body-building, which is attested by 1892, perhaps 1881, in the "training for physical strength and fitness" sense, said to have been coined by R. J. Roberts, superintendent of the Boston Y.M.C.A. gymnasium. See body (n.) + build (v.).
word-forming element meaning "the body," Modern Latin, from Greek sōma "the body" (see somato-).
late 15c., "size of the body" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French corsage "bust, trunk, body" (12c.), from cors "body," from Latin corpus "body" (from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance").
The meaning "body of a woman's dress, bodice" is from 1818 in fashion plates translated from French; by 1843 in a clearly English context. Sense of "a bouquet worn on the bodice" is 1911, American English, apparently from French bouquet de corsage "bouquet of the bodice."
1650s, "any small particle," from Latin corpusculum "a puny body; an atom, particle," diminutive of corpus "body" (from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance"); for ending see -cule. In anatomy, "a microscopic body regarded by itself" (1741); applied to blood cells by 1845 (short for blood-corpuscle). Related: Corpuscular.
before vowels somat-, word-forming element meaning "the body of an organism," from combining form of Greek sōma (genitive sōmatos) "the body, a human body dead or living, body as opposed to spirit; material substance; mass; a person, human being; the whole body or mass of anything," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps originally "compactness, swelling," and from PIE root *teue- "to swell."
mid-15c., corporacioun, "persons united in a body for some purpose," from such use in Anglo-Latin, from Late Latin corporationem (nominative corporatio) "assumption of a body" (used of the incarnation of Christ), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin corporare "embody, make or fashion into a body," from corpus (genitive corporis) "body, dead body, animal body," also "a whole composed of united parts, a structure, system,community, corporation, political body, a guild" (from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance").
Meaning "legally authorized entity, artificial person created by law from a group or succession of persons" (such as municipal governments and modern business companies) is from 1610s.