1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone due payment," from neuter of Late Latin moratorius "tending to delay," from Latin morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," from PIE *morh- "to hinder, delay" (source also of Sanskrit amurchat "to congeal, become solid;" Old Irish maraid "lasts, remains"). The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement, deliberate temporary suspension" is recorded by 1932. Related: Moratorial.
"any detention of a vessel by the freighter in loading or unloading beyond the time originally stipulated" [Century Dictionary], 1640s, from Old French demorage, from demorer "to stay, delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium). Also "a payment in compensation by the freighter for such a delay."
1530s, "a pause, a delay" (a sense now obsolete); 1540 as legal pleading to the effect that, even conceding the facts to be as alleged by the opponent, he is not entitled to legal relief, from Anglo-French demurrer, Old French demorer "to delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium). Transferred sense of "objection raised or exception taken" to anything is by 1590s.
c. 1200, demuren, "to linger, tarry, delay," a sense now obsolete, from variant stem of Old French demorer "delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium).
Modern sense of "raise objections, take exception, have scruples" is by 1630s, from a legal sense attested from the 1620s: "admit provisionally the facts of the opponent's proceeding but deny he is entitled to legal relief," a verb from demurrer. Such a pleading effectively stops the action until the point is settled. Related: Demurred; demurring.
type of fish with a head formed to attach to objects or other fish," 1560s, from Latin remora "sucking fish," literally "delay, hindrance," from re- "back" (see re-) + mora "delay" (see moratorium); so called because the fish were believed by the ancients to have the power to retard a vessel to which they attached themselves.
Hence, in 17c.-18c., "an obstacle, an impediment" (the first sense of the word in Johnson's dictionary). The belief predates the Romans: in Greek, they were ekheneis, from ekhein "to hold" + naus (dative nei) "ship." Pliny writes that Antony's galley was delayed by one at Actium. Sometimes called in English stayship or stopship.
1910, medical Latin, "one of the highest class of feeble-minded persons," from Greek (Attic) mōron, neuter of mōros "foolish, dull, sluggish, stupid," a word of uncertain origin. The former connection with Sanskrit murah "idiotic" (see moratorium) is in doubt. Latin morus "foolish" is a loan-word from Greek.
Adopted by the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded with a technical definition "adult with a mental age between 8 and 12;" used as an insult since 1922 and subsequently dropped from technical use. Linnæus had introduced morisis "idiocy."
The feeble-minded may be divided into: (1) Those who are totally arrested before the age of three so that they show the attainment of a two-year-old child or less; these are the idiots. (2) Those so retarded that they become permanently arrested between the ages of three and seven; these are imbeciles. (3) Those so retarded that they become arrested between the ages of seven and twelve; these were formerly called feeble-minded, the same term that is applied to the whole group. We are now proposing to call them morons, this word being the Greek for "fool." The English word "fool" as formerly used describes exactly this grade of child—one who is deficient in judgment or sense. [Henry H. Goddard, in "Journal of Proceedings and Addresses" of the National Education Association of the United States, July 1910]