late 14c., "to raze, destroy, overthrow, undermine, overturn," from Old French subvertir "overthrow, destroy" (13c.), or directly from Latin subvertere "to turn upside down, overturn, overthrow," from sub "under" (see sub-) + vertere "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). Related: Subverted; subverting.
late 14c., "physical destruction, demolition, ruination; overthrow of a system or law," from Old French subversion "downfall, overthrow" (12c.), from Late Latin subversionem (nominative subversio) "an overthrow, ruin, destruction," noun of action from past-participle stem of subvertere "turn upside down, overturn, overthrow" (see subvert).
"sovereign, ruler, feudal lord or baron," 1807, suzereign, from French suzerain (14c., Old French suserain), noun use of an adjective meaning "sovereign but not supreme," from the adverb sus "up, above," on analogy of soverain (see sovereign (adj.)). Old French sus is from Vulgar Latin *susum, from Latin sursum "upward, above," a contraction of subversum, from subvertere "turn upside down, overturn, overthrow" (see subvert). The fem. form is suzeraine.
late 14c., perverten (transitive), "to turn someone aside from a right religious belief to a false or erroneous one; to distort natural order, misdirect misapply (justice, law, truth, etc.); to turn (something or someone) from right opinion or conduct," from Old French pervertir "pervert, undo, destroy" (12c.) and directly from Latin pervertere "overthrow, overturn," figuratively "to corrupt, subvert, abuse," literally "turn the wrong way, turn about," from per "away" (see per) + vertere "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").
Related: Perverted; perverting. Replaced native froward, which embodies the same image. Old English had mishweorfed "perverted, inverted," an identical formation to the Latin word using native elements.
1590s, "offensive to the senses, or to taste and refinement," from French obscène (16c.), from Latin obscenus "offensive," especially to modesty, originally "boding ill, inauspicious," a word of unknown origin; perhaps from ob "in front of" (see ob-) + caenum "filth."
The meaning "offensive to modesty or decency, impure, unchaste" is attested from 1590s. Legally, "any impure or indecent publication tending to corrupt the mind and to subvert respect for decency and morality." In modern U.S. law, the definition hinged on "whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest." [Justice William Brennan, "Roth v. United States," June 24, 1957]; this was refined in 1973 by "Miller v. California":
The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
a fusion of Old English wyrcan (past tense worhte, past participle geworht) "prepare, perform, do, make, construct, produce; strive after" (from Proto-Germanic *wurkjanan); and Old English wircan (Mercian) "to operate, function, set in motion," a secondary verb formed relatively late from Proto-Germanic noun *werkan (see work (n.)).
Sense of "perform physical labor" was in Old English, as was sense "ply one's trade" and "exert creative power, be a creator." Transitive sense "manipulate (physical substances) into a desired state or form" was in Old English. Meaning "have the expected or desired effect" is from late 14c. In Middle English also "perform sexually" (mid-13c.). Related: Worked (15c.); wrought; working.
To work in "insert, introduce or intermix," as one material with another, is by 1670s; hence the figurative sense "cause to enter or penetrate by repeated efforts." To work up (transitive) "bring into some state or condition" is by 1590s of material things, 1690s of immaterial things; hence "bring by labor or special effort to a higher state or condition" (1660s). The meaning "excite, stir up, raise, rouse" is from c. 1600. To work over "beat up, thrash" is from 1927. To work against "attempt to subvert" is from late 14c.
To work out "bring about or procure (a result) by continued labor or effort" is by 1530s. As "bring to a fuller or finished state, elaborate, develop," by 1821. Meaning "to solve, calculate the solution to" a problem or question is by 1848. Intransitive sense "make its way out" is from c. 1600; the sense of "succeed" is attested by 1909. Sense of "exhaust (a mine, etc.) by working it" is from 1540s. The pugilistic sense of "box for practice (rather than in a contest) is by 1927, hence the general sense of "practice, rehearse" (1929) and that of "take exercise" (by 1948).