Etymology
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peace (n.)
Origin and meaning of peace

mid-12c., pes, "freedom from civil disorder, internal peace of a nation," from Anglo-French pes, Old French pais "peace, reconciliation, silence, permission" (11c., Modern French paix), from Latin pacem (nominative pax) "compact, agreement, treaty of peace, tranquility, absence of war" (source of Provençal patz, Spanish paz, Italian pace), from PIE root *pag- "to fasten" (which is the source also of Latin pacisci "to covenant or agree;" see pact), on the notion of "a binding together" by treaty or agreement.

It replaced Old English frið, also sibb, which also meant "happiness." The modern spelling is from 1500s, reflecting vowel shift. From mid-13c. as "friendly relations between people." The sense of "spiritual peace of the heart, soul or conscience, freedom from disturbance by the passions" (as in peace of mind) is from c. 1200. Sense of "state of quiet or tranquility" is by 1300, as in the meaning "absence or cessation of war or hostility." Specifically as "treaty or agreement made between conflicting parties to refrain from further hostilities," c. 1400.

Used in various greetings from c. 1300, from Biblical Latin pax, Greek eirēnē, which were used by translators to render Hebrew shalom, properly "safety, welfare, prosperity." As a type of hybrid tea rose (developed 1939 in France by François Meilland), so called from 1944.

The Native American peace pipe, supposedly smoked as the accompaniment of a treaty, is recorded by 1760. Peace-officer "civil officer whose duty it is to preserve public peace" is attested from 1714. Peace offering "offering that procures peace or reconciliation, satisfaction offered to an offended person" is from 1530s. Phrase peace with honor dates to 1607 (in "Coriolanus"). The U.S. Peace Corps was set up March 1, 1962. Peace sign, in reference to both the hand gesture and the graphic, is attested from 1968.

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peace-keeping (n.)

also peacekeeping, 1961 in the international sense, "regular maintenance by an organization of peace between nations or communities," from peace + keeping, verbal noun from keep (v.). Earlier "preservation of law and order" (mid-15c.), from verbal phrase keep the peace. Related: Peace-keeper (1570s).

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peacetime (n.)

also peace-time, "time when a country is not at war," 1550s, from peace + time (n.).

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peacenik (n.)

hostile term for a pacifist or opponent of military action, 1962, from peace + -nik. An earlier equivalent was peacemonger (1808).

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peacemaker (n.)

"one who makes peace," as by reconciling parties that are at variance," early 15c., pesmaker; see peace + maker. To make peace "bring about reconciliation" is from c. 1300. Related: Peacemaking.

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peaceable (adj.)

mid-14c., pesible, "mild, gentle, peace-loving; characterized by peace, untroubled, not warlike," from Old French paisible "peaceful" (12c.), from pais (see peace). Meaning "restrained in conduct, civil, not violent, quarrelsome, or boisterous" is from early 15c. Related: Peacably; peaceableness.

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peaceful (adj.)

early 14c., pesful, peesfull, paisful, "inclined to peace, friendly, pacific;" mid-14c. as "tranquil, calm, full of peace;" from peace + -ful. In reference to nonviolent methods of effecting social change, it is attested from 1876. Related: Peacefully; peacefulness. Peaceful coexistence (1920) originally was in regard to Soviet policy toward the capitalist West.

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pacify (v.)

late 15c., pacifien, "appease, allay the anger of (someone)," from Old French pacifier, paciifier, "make peace," from Latin pacificare "to make peace; pacify," from pacificus "peaceful, peace-making," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace). Of countries or regions, "to bring to a condition of calm, to restore peace to," late 15c., from the start with suggestions of forced submission and terrorization. Related: Pacified; pacifying.

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appease (v.)
c. 1300 "to reconcile," from Anglo-French apeser, Old French apaisier "to pacify, make peace, appease, be reconciled, placate" (12c.), from the phrase a paisier "bring to peace," from a "to" (see ad-) + pais, from Latin pacem (nominative pax) "peace" (see peace). Meaning "pacify (one who is angry)" is from late 14c.; for political sense, see appeasement. Related: Appeased; appeasing.
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pax (n.)

late 14c., "kiss of peace," from Latin pax (genitive pacis) "peace," in Ecclesiastical Latin, "kiss of peace" (see peace). Capitalized, Pax was the name of the Roman goddess of peace. Used with adjectives from national names, on model of Pax Romana (such as Pax Britannica, 1872); Pax Americana was used by 1884 in reference to the union of the states:

The great state of New York, stronger already in population than Sweden, Portugal, the Dominion of Canada, or any South American state, except Brazil, is surrounded by smaller states, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware. But these last have no anxieties: no standing armies breed taxes and hinder labor; no wars or rumors of wars interrupt trade; there is not only profound peace, but profound security, for the Pax Americana of the Union broods over all. ["Cyclopaedia of Political Science,: John J. Lalor, ed., vol. III, 1884]

The phrase typically meant that at first, but by 1898 was used of theoretical influence of U.S. power beyond its borders, and by 1920 as a practical reality with reference to Latin America. 

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