early 15c., "spiritual calling," from Old French vocacion "call, consecration; calling, profession" (13c.) or directly from Latin vocationem (nominative vocatio), literally "a calling, a being called" from vocatus "called," past participle of vocare "to call," which is related to vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak"). Sense of "one's occupation or profession" is first attested 1550s.
1610s, "a calling away from one's occupation;" 1640s, "that which calls one away from one's proper business," from Latin avocationem (nominative avocatio) "a calling away, distraction, diversion," noun of action from past-participle stem of avocare "to call off, call away," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + vocare "to call," which is related to vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak"). Commonly, but improperly, "one's regular business, vocation" (1660s). Earlier (1520s) in a legalistic sense "calling to a higher court."
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
[Frost, "Two Tramps in Mud Time"]
c. 1300, notarie, "a clerk, a personal secretary; person whose vocation was making notes or memoranda of the acts of others who wished to preserve them, and writing up deeds and contracts," from Old French notarie "scribe, clerk, secretary" (12c.) and directly from Latin notarius "shorthand writer, clerk, secretary," from notare, "to note," from nota "shorthand character, letter, note" (see note (n.)).
Meaning "person authorized to draw up and authenticate contracts and other legal instruments" is from mid-14c.; especially in notary public (late 15c.), which has the French order of subject-adjective. Related: Notarial.
"set apart and consecrated to a deity or to a sacred purpose by a solemn act or by religious ceremonies; devoted with earnest purpose, as to some person or end," c. 1600, usually of things, writings, property, etc., past-participle adjective from dedicate (v.).
Of persons, "devoted to one's aims or vocation," attested clearly by 1936, but the sense shift can be felt in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which opens talking of "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," and a few lines later reintroduces the word personally: "It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ...."
Of things, "made to be available only for a particular purpose or class of user," by 1969. Related: Dedicatedly.
c. 1200, professioun, "vows taken upon entering a religious order," from Old French profession (12c.) and directly from Latin professionem (nominative professio) "public declaration," noun of action from past-participle stem of profiteri "declare openly" (see profess).
The meaning "any solemn declaration" is from mid-14c. Meaning "occupation one professes to be skilled in, a calling" is from early 15c.; meaning "body of persons engaged in some occupation" is from 1610; as a euphemism for "prostitution" (compare oldest profession) it is recorded from 1888.
Formerly theology, law, and medicine were specifically known as the professions; but, as the applications of science and learning are extended to other departments of affairs, other vocations also receive the name. The word implies professed attainments in special knowledge, as distinguished from mere skill; a practical dealing with affairs, as distinguished from mere study or investigation; and an application of such knowledge to uses for others as a vocation, as distinguished from its pursuit for one's own purposes. In professions strictly so called a preliminary examination as to qualifications is usually demanded by law or usage, and a license or other official authority founded thereon required. [Century Dictionary]
c. 1200, "betraying; betrayal of trust; breach of faith," from Anglo-French treson, from Old French traison "treason, treachery" (11c.; Modern French trahison), from Latin traditionem (nominative traditio) "delivery, surrender, a handing down, a giving up," noun of action from past-participle stem of tradere "deliver, hand over," from trans- "over" (see trans-) + dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). A doublet of tradition. The Old French form was influenced by the verb trair "betray."
Vpon Thursday it was treason to cry God saue king James king of England, and vppon Friday hye treason not to cry so. [Thomas Dekker, "The Wonderfull Yeare 1603"]
In old English law, high treason (c. 1400) is violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or to the state (the sense of high here is "grave, serious"); distinguished from petit treason, treason against a subject, such as murder of a master by his servant. Constructive treason was a judicial fiction whereby actions carried out without treasonable intent, but found to have the effect of treason, were punished as though they were treason itself. The protection against this accounts for the careful wording of the definition of treason in the U.S. Constitution.
Trahison des clercs "self-compromised integrity of intellectuals, betrayal or corruption by academics, moralists, journalists, etc. of their vocation," is the title of a 1927 French work by Julien Benda, translated into English in 1928.
In short, intellectuals began to immerse themselves in the unsettlingly practical and material world of political passions: precisely those passions, Benda observed, "owing to which men rise up against other men, the chief of which are racial passions, class passions and national passions." ... "Our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds" he wrote. "It will be one of its chief claims to notice in the moral history of humanity." [Roger Kimball, introduction to 2007 English edition]