c. 1400, "process of making patterns of inlaid work in hard materials," from Old French mosaicq "mosaic work," from Italian mosaico, from Medieval Latin musaicum "mosaic work, work of the Muses," noun use of neuter of musaicus "of the Muses," from Latin Musa (see Muse). Medieval mosaics often were dedicated to the Muses.
The word was formed in Medieval Latin as though from Greek, but the (late) Greek word for "mosaic work" was mouseion (and Klein says this sense in Greek was borrowed from Latin). Meaning "a piece of mosaic work" is from 1690s. Figurative meaning "anything resembling a mosaic work in composition" is by 1640s. As an adjective in English, "made of small pieces inlaid to form a pattern," from 1580s. Related: Mosaicist.
"pertaining to Moses," 1660s (earlier Mosaical, 1560s), from Modern Latin Mosaicus, from Late Latin Moses (see Moses).
late 14c. lauier, lawer, lawere (mid-14c. as a surname), "one versed in law, one whose profession is suits in court or client advice on legal rights," from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- predominated from 17c. (see -yer). In the New Testament (Luke xiv.3, etc.) "interpreter of Mosaic law." Old English had lahwita, with wita "sage, wise man; adviser councilor," and an earlier Middle English word for "lawyer" was man-of-law (mid-14c.). Related: Lawyerly.
1590s, "recurring in sevens or on every seventh;" 1640s, "of or suitable for the Sabbath," from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos "of the Sabbath," from sabbaton (see Sabbath). By 1836 as "characterized by rest or cessation from labor or tillage." Other adjectives from Sabbath include Sabbatary, Sabbatine.
The noun meaning "a year's absence granted to researchers" (originally one year in seven, to university professors) is from 1934, short for sabbatical year, etc., which was recorded by 1886 (the thing itself is attested from 1880, at Harvard), a term perhaps suggested by the sabbatical year (1590s) in Mosaic law, the seventh year, in which land was to remain untilled and non-foreign debtors and slaves released.
late 14c., dispensacioun, "power to dispose of," also "act of dispensing or dealing out," also "a relaxation of the law in some particular case," from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation) and directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past-participle stem of dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Related: Dispensational.
Theological sense "method or scheme by which God has developed his purposes and revealed himself to man" (late 14c.) is from the use of the Latin word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration" (see economy). Hence "particular period during which a religious system has prevailed" (1640s), with Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian, etc. Also "a particular distribution (for good or ill) by divine providence" (1650s).
Old English, "native or inhabitant of Samaria," a district of ancient Palestine, from Late Latin Samaritanus, from Greek Samareitēs, from Samareia (see Samaria). A non-Hebrew race was settled in its cities by the king of Assyria after the removal of the Israelites from the country.
Originally idolaters they soon began to worship Jehovah, but without abandoning their former gods. They afterward became monotheists, and observed the Mosaic law very strictly, but with peculiar variations. About 400 B. C. they built a temple on Mount Gerisim, which was destroyed 130 B. C. They began to decline toward the close of the fifth century after Christ. They still exist, bat are nearly extinct. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
The figurative use for "charitable or benevolent person," with reference to the Biblical story of the good Samaritan in Luke x, is attested from 1630s. As an adjective by late 14c. Related: Samaritanism.
late 14c., "statement, belief, or practice handed down from generation to generation," especially "belief or practice based on Mosaic law," from Old French tradicion "transmission, presentation, handing over" (late 13c.) and directly from Latin traditionem (nominative traditio) "a delivering up, surrender, a handing down, a giving up" (also also "a teaching, instruction," and "a saying handed down from former times"). This is a noun of action from past-participle stem of tradere "deliver, hand over," from trans- "over" (see trans-) + dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). The word is a doublet of treason (q.v.). Meaning "a long-established custom" is from 1590s. The notion is of customs, ways, beliefs, doctrines, etc. "handed down" from one generation to the next.
Tradition is not solely, or even primarily, the maintenance of certain dogmatic beliefs; these beliefs have come to take their living form in the course of the formation of a tradition. What I mean by tradition involves all those habitual actions, habits and customs, from the most significant religious rite to our conventional way of greeting a stranger, which represent the blood kinship of 'the same people living in the same place'. ... We become conscious of these items, or conscious of their importance, usually only after they have begun to fall into desuetude, as we are aware of the leaves of a tree when the autumn wind begins to blow them off—when they have separately ceased to be vital. Energy may be wasted at that point in a frantic endeavour to collect the leaves as they fall and gum them onto the branches: but the sound tree will put forth new leaves, and the dry tree should be put to the axe. [T.S. Eliot, "After Strange Gods"]