older uses refer to schools in Ireland begun 1733 by the Charter Society to provide Protestant education to poor Catholic children. Modern use in U.S. began c. 1988, as an alternative to state-run public education.
"the executive branch of the public service," as distinguished from the military, naval, legislative, or judicial, 1765, originally in reference to non-military staff of the East India Company, from civil in the sense "not military." Civil servant is from 1792.
type of hawk that is believed to prey on domestic fowl, 1802, American English. Figuratively, from the secondary senses of both words, "public person who advocates war but declined significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime," at least 1988, American English. From chicken (n.) + hawk (n.).
1650s, "public department in charge of letter-carrying," from post (n.3) + office. Meaning "building where postal business is carried on, office or place where letters are received for transmission," is from 1650s. In slang or euphemistic sense of "a sexual game" it refers to an actual parlor game first attested early 1850s in which pretend "letters" were paid for by kisses.
"the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, — as they are now justly styled, — a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]
also hoochie-coochie, hootchy kootchy, "erotic suggestive women's dance" (involving a lot of hip-grinding), 1898, of obscure origin, usually associated, without evidence, with the Chicago world's fair of 1893 and belly-dancer Little Egypt (who might not even have been there), but the word itself is attested from 1890, as the stage name of minstrel singer "Hoochy-Coochy Rice," and the chorus of the popular minstrel song "The Ham-Fat Man" (by 1856; see ham (n.2)) contains the nonsense phrase "Hoochee, kouchee, kouchee."
To-day, however, in place of the danse du ventre or the coochie-coochie we have the loop-the-loop or the razzle-dazzle, which latter, while not exactly edifying at least do not serve to deprave public taste. ["The Redemption of 'Old Coney,'" in Broadway Magazine, April 1904]