mundane (adj.)

mid-15c., mondeine, "of this world, worldly, terrestrial," from Old French mondain "of this world, worldly, earthly, secular;" also "pure, clean; noble, generous" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin mundanus "belonging to the world" (as distinct from the Church), in classical Latin "a citizen of the world, cosmopolite," from mundus "universe, world," which is identical to mundus  "clean, elegant," but the exact connection is uncertain and the etymology is unknown.

Latin mundus "world" was used as a translation of Greek kosmos (see cosmos) in its Pythagorean sense of "the physical universe" (the original sense of the Greek word was "orderly arrangement"). Like kosmos (and perhaps by influence of it), Latin mundus also was used of a woman's "ornaments, dress," which also could entangle the adjective mundus "clean, elegant."

The English word's extended sense of "dull, uninteresting" is attested by 1850. Related: Mundanely. The mundane era was the chronology that began with the supposed epoch of the Creation (famously reckoned as 4004 B.C.E.).

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antemundane (adj.)

"existing or happening before the creation of the world," 1731; see ante- + mundane.

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beau-monde (n.)

also beau monde, "the fashionable world," 1714, French, from beau (see beau) + monde, from Latin mundus "world" (see mundane).

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mundanity (n.)

"worldliness, the way of the world," c. 1500, from French mondanité or directly from Medieval Latin mundanitatem (nominative mundanitas), from Late Latin mundanus "belonging to the world" (see mundane).

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mondo (adj.)

"very much, extreme," 1979, from Italian mondo "world" (from Latin mundus; see mundane); specifically from "Mondo cane," title of a 1961 film, literally "world for a dog" (English title "A Dog's Life"), depicting eccentric human behavior. The word was abstracted from the title and taken as an intensifier.

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anima mundi (n.)

"spiritual essence, distinct from matter and supposed in the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato to be diffused throughout the universe, organizing and acting through the whole of it," 1670s, Medieval Latin, literally "soul of the world;" used by Abelard to render Greek psychē tou kosmou. From fem. of Latin animus "the rational soul; life; the mental powers, intelligence" (see animus) + genitive of mundus "universe, world" (see mundane).

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demi-monde (n.)

also demimonde, "women of equivocal reputation and standing in society," 1855, from French demi-monde "so-so society," literally "half-world," from demi- "half" + monde, from Latin mundus "world" (see mundane).

Popularized by its use as title of a comedy by Alexandre Dumas fils (1824-1895). Dumas' Demi-Monde "is the link between good and bad society ... the world of compromised women, a social limbo, the inmates of which ... are perpetually struggling to emerge into the paradise of honest and respectable ladies" ["Fraser's Magazine," 1855]. Thus not properly used of courtesans, etc.

Compare 18th-century English demi-rep (1749, the second element short for reputation), defined as "a woman that intrigues with every man she likes, under the name and appearance of virtue ... in short, whom every body knows to be what no body calls her" [Fielding].

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map (n.)

"drawing upon a plane surface representing a part or whole of the earth's surface or the heavens, with the various points drawn in proportion and in corresponding positions," 1520s, a shortening of Middle English mapemounde "map of the world" (late 14c.), and in part from French mappe, shortening of Old French mapemonde. Both the fuller English and French words are from Medieval Latin mappa mundi "map of the world."

The first element is from Latin mappa "napkin, cloth" (on which maps were drawn), "tablecloth, signal-cloth, flag," said by Quintilian to be of Punic (Semitic) origin (compare Talmudic Hebrew mappa, contraction of Mishnaic menaphah "a fluttering banner, streaming cloth"). The second element is Latin mundi "of the world," from mundus "universe, world" (see mundane).

Commonly used 17c. in a figurative sense of "epitome; detailed representation of anything." To put (something) on the map "bring it to wide attention" is from 1913.

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mound (n.)

1550s, "hedge, fence," also "an embankment, a dam" (a sense probably influenced by mount (n.)), a word of obscure origin. The relationship between the noun and the verb is uncertain.

Commonly supposed to be from Middle English mounde "the hand; guardianship, power," from Old English mund (cognate with Latin manus), but this is not certain (OED discounts it on grounds of sense). Perhaps it is a confusion of the native word and Middle Dutch mond "protection," used in military sense for fortifications of various types, including earthworks.

From 1726 as "artificial elevation of earth" (as over a grave); 1810 as "natural low elevation." As the place where the pitcher stands on a baseball field, from 1912. Mound-builder "one of the prehistoric race of the Mississippi Valley that erected extensive earthworks" is by 1838.

In Middle English mounde also meant "the world," from Old French monde, from Latin mundus (see mundane).

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sublunary (adj.)

1590s, "situated under the moon," hence "earthly, mundane" (old cosmology), from Modern Latin sublunaris, from sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + lunaris (see lunar). It owes its special sense to the old cosmology of heavenly spheres and ultimately to Aristotle:

The treatise On the Heavens sets forth a pleasant and simple theory. Things below the moon are subject to generation and decay; from the moon upwards, everything is ungenerated and indestructible. [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy"]
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