c. 1200, manere, "kind, sort, variety," from Anglo-French manere, Old French maniere "fashion, method, manner, way; appearance, bearing; custom" (12c., Modern French manière), from Vulgar Latin *manaria (source of Spanish manera, Portuguese maneira, Italian maniera), from fem. of Latin manuarius "belonging to the hand," from manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand"). The French word also was borrowed by Dutch (manier), German (manier), Swedish (maner).
Meaning "customary practice" is from c. 1300. Senses of "way of doing something; a personal habit or way of doing; way of conducting oneself toward others" are from c. 1300. Meaning "specific nature, form, way something happens" is mid-14c.
Of literature, art, etc., "way in which a work is made or executed," from 1660s. Most figurative meanings derive from the original sense "method of handling" which was extended when the word was used to translate Latin modus "method."
Phrase manner of speaking is recorded from 1530s. To the manner born ("Hamlet" I iv.15) sometimes is used incorrectly; it means "accustomed by birth to be subject to the practice," but the noun is sometimes understood as manor (which formerly also was spelled manner).
mid-15c., "having or possessed of manners or demeanor;" in compounds, "having manners of a certain kind;" from manner. Later, especially, "well-mannered." Also, especially in arts and literature, "characterized by mannerism, artificial, affected" (by 1801). The form ymanered is attested from late 14c. Compare mannerable "well-mannered" (late 15c.).
"external behavior (especially polite behavior) in social intercourse," late 14c., plural of manner in a specific sense of "proper behavior, commendable habits of conduct" (c. 1300).
Under bad manners, as under graver faults, lies very commonly an overestimate of our special individuality, as distinguished from our generic humanity. [Oliver W. Holmes, "The Professor at the Breakfast Table," 1858]
Earlier it meant "moral character" (early 13c.).
MANNERS-BIT, a portion of a dish left by the guests that the host may not feel himself reproached for insufficient preparation. [Rev. Joseph Hunter, "The Hallamshire Glossary," 1829]
"excessive or monotonous use of distinctive methods in art or literature," 1803, from manner + -ism. Meaning "an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity in deportment, speech, or execution" is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms.
Perhaps few of those who write much escape from the temptation to trade on tricks of which they have learnt the effectiveness; & it is true that it is a delicate matter to discern where a peculiarity ceases to be an element in the individuality that readers associate pleasantly with the writer they like, & becomes a recurrent & looked-for & dreaded irritation. But at least it is well for every writer to realize that, for his as for other people's mannerisms, there is a point at which that transformation does take place. [Fowler]
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hand."
It forms all or part of: amanuensis; command; commando; commend; countermand; demand; Edmund; emancipate; legerdemain; maintain; manacle; manage; manciple; mandamus; mandate; manege; maneuver; manicure; manifest; manipulation; manner; manque; mansuetude; manual; manubrium; manufacture; manumission; manumit; manure; manuscript; mastiff; Maundy Thursday; mortmain; Raymond; recommend; remand; Sigismund.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust;" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over; armed force; handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand;" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian;" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage."
late 13c., "style or fashion of attire," from Old French guise "manner, fashion, way," from Frankish *wisa or some similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *wison "appearance, form, manner," from *wissaz (source also of Old High German wisa "manner, wise"), from PIE root *weid- "to see." Sense of "assumed appearance" is from 1660s, from earlier meaning "mask, disguise" (c. 1500).