family name (late 12c.), later masc. personal name, from Gaelic Dubh ghlais "the dark water," name of a place in Lanarkshire. As a given name, in the top 40 for boys born in U.S. from 1942 to 1971. The name of the city that is the capital of the Isle of Man is the same Celtic compound.
The large, coniferous Douglas fir tree was named for David Douglas (1798-1834), Scottish botanist who first recorded it in Pacific Northwest, 1825. Douglas scheme, Douglas plan, Douglassite, etc. refer to "social credit" economic model put forth by British engineer Maj. Clifford Hugh Douglas (1879-1952).
Canadian province, founded in 1882 and named for Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, wife of the governor general, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquess of Lorne. She was named for her father, Prince Albert.
Our legislator took to Congress several securities against erroneous action, several securities of largeness, liberality, American-ness, if I may be suffered thus to coin a word. [Robert B. Warden, "Life and Character of Stephen Arnold Douglas," Columbus, 1860]
1776, "functional derangement arising from disorders of the nervous system (not caused by a lesion or injury)," coined by Scottish physician William Cullen (1710-1790) from Greek neuron "nerve" (see neuro-) + Modern Latin -osis "abnormal condition." Originally of epilepsy, hysteria, neuralgia, etc. Used in a general psychological sense from 1871, "change in the nerve cells of the brain resulting in symptoms of stress," but not radical loss of touch with reality (psychosis); clinical use in psychiatry dates from 1923.
early 15c., populer, "public, commonly known," from Old French populaire and directly from Latin popularis "belonging to the people, general, common; devoted to or accepted by the people; democratic," from populus "people" (see people (n.)).
Meaning "of or pertaining to the people; depending on the people," especially the common people, is from 1540s. Meaning "suited to ordinary people, easily comprehended" is from 1570s in English; hence, of prices, "low, affordable to average persons" (1859).
The meaning "well-liked, admired by or enjoying the favor of the people" is attested from c. 1600. Of art, entertainment, etc., "favored by people generally" from 1819 (popular song). Related: Popularly. Popular Front "coalition of Communists, Socialists, and radicals" is from 1936, first in a French context.
Popular sovereignty, in U. S. hist., the theory that the right to decide whether slavery should exist in a territory rested with the people of that territory, and not with Congress. It was advocated especially by Democrats during the period 1847-61, and its leading champion was Douglas. It was often termed "squatter sovereignty," with which it was nearly identical. [Century Dictionary]
early 14c., "body of individuals born about the same period" (historically 30 years but in other uses as few as 17), on the notion of "descendants at the same stage in the line of descent," from Old French generacion "race, people, species; progeny, offspring; act of procreating" (12c., Modern French génération) and directly from Latin generationem (nominative generatio) "generating, generation," noun of action from past-participle stem of generare "bring forth, beget, produce," from genus "race, kind" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups).
From late 14c. as "act or process of procreation; process of being formed; state of being procreated; reproduction; sexual intercourse;" also "that which is produced, fruit, crop; children; descendants, offspring of the same parent."
Generation gap is recorded by 1967; generation x for the (American) generation born after Baby Boomers (c. 1965 - c. 1979) is from 1991, by author Douglas Coupland (b.1961) in the book of that name; abbreviation gen X is by 1997; generation y is attested by 1994 but did not catch on. Adjectival phrase first-generation, second-generation, etc. with reference to U.S. immigrant families is from 1896. Related: Generational.