Etymology
Advertisement
culture (n.)
Origin and meaning of culture

mid-15c., "the tilling of land, act of preparing the earth for crops," from Latin cultura "a cultivating, agriculture," figuratively "care, culture, an honoring," from past participle stem of colere "to tend, guard; to till, cultivate" (see colony). Meaning "the cultivation or rearing of a crop, act of promoting growth in plants" (1620s) was transferred to fish, oysters, etc., by 1796, then to "production of bacteria or other microorganisms in a suitable environment" (1880), then "product of such a culture" (1884).

The figurative sense of "cultivation through education, systematic improvement and refinement of the mind" is attested by c. 1500; Century Dictionary writes that it was, "Not common before the nineteenth century, except with strong consciousness of the metaphor involved, though used in Latin by Cicero." Meaning "learning and taste, the intellectual side of civilization" is by 1805; the closely related sense of "collective customs and achievements of a people, a particular form of collective intellectual development" is by 1867.

For without culture or holiness, which are always the gift of a very few, a man may renounce wealth or any other external thing, but he cannot renounce hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge. Culture is the sanctity of the intellect. [William Butler Yeats, journal, 7 March, 1909]

Slang culture vulture "one voracious for culture" is from 1947. Culture shock "disorientation experienced when a person moves to a different cultural environment or an unfamiliar way of life" is attested by 1940. Ironic or contemptuous spelling kulchur is attested from 1940 (Pound), and compare kultur.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
material (adj.)

mid-14c., "real, ordinary; earthly, drawn from the material world" (contrasted with spiritual, mental, supernatural), a term in scholastic philosophy and theology, from Old French material, materiel (14c.) and directly from Late Latin materialis (adj.) "of or belonging to matter," from Latin materia "matter, stuff, wood, timber" (see matter (n.)).

From late 14c. as "made of matter, having material existence; material, physical, substantial." From late 15c. as "important, relevant, necessary, pertaining to the matter or subject;" in the law of evidence, "of legal significance to the cause" (1580s).

Related entries & more 
material (n.)

late 14c., "component substance, matter from which a thing is made," from material (adj.).

Related entries & more 
acculturation (n.)

"the adoption and assimilation of an alien culture" [OED], 1880, from assimilated form of ad- "to" + culture (n.) + noun ending -ation.

Related entries & more 
counterculture (n.)

also counter-culture, "way of life or collective values deliberately at variance with the prevailing norms of a time and place," 1968, from counter- + culture (n.). Popularized by, and perhaps coined in, the book "The Making of a Counter Culture" by U.S. academic Theodore Roszak. As an adjective by 1972.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
cultured (adj.)

1743, of land, etc., "cultivated," adjective from culture. Meaning "developed under controlled natural conditions" is from 1906, originally of pearls. Meaning "refined, improved by exposure to intellectual culture" is by 1777.

Related entries & more 
horticultural (adj.)

"pertaining to the culture of gardens," 1768, from horticulture + -al (1).

Related entries & more 
popster (n.)

"pop-culture enthusiast," 1963 (in a book about the Beatles), from pop (adj.)+ -ster.

Related entries & more 
Hellenistic (adj.)

1706, "of or pertaining to Greece and its culture," from Hellene "an ancient Greek" + -istic. Since 1870s, specifically of Greek culture in the few centuries after Alexander. Related: Hellenistical (1650s). Hellenist "one who uses the Greek language, though not a Greek," is attested from 1610s.

Related entries & more 
apiculture (n.)

"the rearing of bees," 1859, from Latin apis "bee" (see apiary) on analogy of agriculture, etc. (see culture (n.)).

Related entries & more