1590s, "one who is characterized by strict adherence to method," from method + -ist. With a capital M-, it refers to the Protestant religious denomination founded 1729 at Oxford University by John and Charles Wesley. The name had been used at least since 1686 for various new methods of worship; it was applied to the Wesleys by their fellow-students at Oxford for their methodical habits in study and religious life. Johnson (1755) describes them as "One of a new kind of puritans lately arisen, so called from their profession to live by rules and in constant method." Related: Methodism.
"assembly for popular education," 1873, from town in New York, U.S., where an annual Methodist summer colony featured lectures. The name is from ja'dahgweh, a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly meaning "one has taken out fish there," but an alternative suggested meaning is "raised body."