1902, from French, literally "free verse," lines of varying length.
I remarked some years ago, in speaking of vers libre, that 'no vers is libre for the man who wants to do a good job.' The term, which fifty years ago had an exact meaning in relation to the French alexandrine, now means too much to mean anything at all. [T.S. Eliot, introduction to "Selected Poems of Ezra Pound," 1928]
1869; Englishing of vers libre.
But it is possible that excessive devotion to rhyme has thickened the modern ear. The rejection of rhyme is not a leap at facility; on the contrary, it imposes a much severer strain upon the language. When the comforting echo of rhyme is removed, success or failure in the choice of words, in the sentence structure, in the order, is at once more apparent. Rhyme removed, the poet is at once held up to the standards of prose. Rhyme removed, much ethereal music leaps up from the word, music which has hitherto chirped unnoticed in the expanse of prose. [T.S. Eliot, "Reflections on Vers libre," New Statesman, 3 March 1917]
Old English freodom "power of self-determination, state of free will; emancipation from slavery, deliverance;" see free (adj.) + -dom. Meaning "exemption from arbitrary or despotic control, civil liberty" is from late 14c. Meaning "possession of particular privileges" is from 1570s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fridom, Dutch vrijdom, Middle Low German vridom.
It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists. [John C. Calhoun, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 1816]
[F]reedom is only truly freedom when it appears against the background of an artificial limitation. [T.S. Eliot, "Reflections on 'Vers Libre'"]
Freedom fighter attested by 1903 (originally with reference to Cuba). Freedom-loving (adj.) is from 1841. Freedom-rider is recorded from 1961 in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.
1778, "thing which causes ennui or annoyance by dullness;" earlier "state of boredom, fit of listless disgust" (1766); of persons who cause boredom by 1812; usually said to be a figurative extension of bore (v.1) on the notion of "move forward slowly and persistently," as a boring tool does, but OED has doubts and early evidence suggests a French connection.
Le secret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire (The secret of being a bore is to tell everything) [Voltaire, "Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme," 1738]
c. 1200, fresh, also fersh, "unsalted; pure; sweet; eager;" the modern form is a metathesis of Old English fersc, of water, "not salt, unsalted," itself transposed from Proto-Germanic *friskaz (source also of Old Frisian fersk, Middle Dutch versch, Dutch vers, Old High German frisc, German frisch "fresh"). Probably cognate with Old Church Slavonic presinu "fresh," Lithuanian preskas "sweet."
Sense of "new, recent" is from c. 1300; that of "not stale or worn" is from early 14c.; of memories from mid-14c. The metathesis, and the expanded Middle English senses of "new," "pure," "eager" probably are by influence of (or from) Old French fres (fem. fresche; Modern French frais "fresh, cool"), which is from Proto-Germanic *frisko-, and thus related to the English word. The Germanic root also is the source of Italian and Spanish fresco. Related: Freshly. Fresh pursuit in law is pursuit of the wrong-doer while the crime is fresh.
late Old English (replacing Old English fers, an early West Germanic borrowing directly from Latin), "line or section of a psalm or canticle," later "line of poetry" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French and Old French vers "line of verse; rhyme, song," from Latin versus "a line, row, line of verse, line of writing," from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend." The metaphor is of plowing, of "turning" from one line to another (vertere = "to turn") as a plowman does.
The English New Testament first was divided fully into verses in the Geneva version (1550s). Meaning "metrical composition" is recorded from c. 1300; as the non-repeating part of a modern song (between repetitions of the chorus) by 1918.
The Negroes say that in form their old songs usually consist in what they call "Chorus and Verses." The "chorus," a melodic refrain sung by all, opens the song; then follows a verse sung as a solo, in free recitative; the chorus is repeated; then another verse; chorus again;—and so on until the chorus, sung for the last time, ends the song. [Natalie Curtis-Burlin, "Negro Folk-Songs," 1918]