1610s, "any means of supplying a want or deficiency," from French resourse "a source, a spring," noun use of fem. past participle of Old French resourdre "to rally, raise again," from Latin resurgere "rise again" (see resurgent).
The meaning "possibility of aid or assistance" (often with a negative) is by 1690s; the meaning "expedient, device, shift" also is from 1690s. Resources as "a country's wealth, means of raising money and supplies" is recorded by 1779. A library resource center was so called by 1968.
c. 1400, resorten, "advance, proceed; come or go; return (to a subject or topic); go to (someone) for aid, turn to for protection, mercy, etc.," from Old French resortir "recourse, appeal" (Modern French ressortir), from resort "resource, a help, an aid" (see resort (n.)). Related: Resorted; resorting.
Sustainability is defined as a requirement of our generation to manage the resource base such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations. ... Development is sustainable if it involves a non-decreasing average quality of life. [Geir B. Asheim, "Sustainability," The World Bank, 1994]
late 14c., "that to which one has recourse for aid or assistance, source of comfort and solace," from Old French resort "resource, a help, an aid, a remedy," back-formation from resortir "to resort," literally "to go out again," from re- "again" (see re-) + sortir "go out" (see sortie).
The meaning "place people go for recreation" is recorded by 1754. Phrase in the last resort "ultimately" (1670s) translates French en dernier ressort, originally a last court of legal appeals.
late 14c., "advantageous, fit, proper to a purpose," from Old French expedient "useful, beneficial" (14c.) or directly from Latin expedientem (nominative expediens) "beneficial," present participle of expedire "make fit or ready, prepare" (see expedite). The noun meaning "a device adopted in an exigency, that which serves to advance a desired result" is from 1650s. Related: Expediential; expedientially (both 19c.).
Expedient, contrivance, and device indicate artificial means of escape from difficulty or embarrassment; resource indicates natural means or something possessed; resort and shift may indicate either. [Century Dictionary]
in the figurative sense "wildly irresponsible person, potent person or thing freed from usual restraint," by 1896; in the literal sense an object of dread on old warships; the figurative use probably arose from a celebrated scene in a popular late novel by Victor Hugo:
You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three," 1874]