also V.I.P., 1933, initialism (acronym) for very important person or personage; not common until after World War II.
At most, the greatest persons, are but great wens, and excrescences; men of wit and delightfull conversation, but as moales for ornament, except they be so incorporated into the body of the world, that they contribute something to the sustentation of the whole. [John Donne, letter to Sir Henry Goodere, Sept. 1608]
late 14c. as a term of reproach for a corrupt or lax prelate, from the Roman surname, especially that of Pontius Pilate, a governor of the Roman province of Judaea under Tiberius, from Latin Pilatus, literally "armed with javelins," from pilum "javelin" (see pile (n.2)).
Other than having presided over the trial of Jesus and ordering his crucifixion, little is known of him. In Middle English pilates vois was "a loud, boastful voice," of the sort used by Pilate in the mystery plays. Among slang and cant uses of Pontius Pilate mentioned in the 1811 "Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" is "(Cambridge) a Mr. Shepherd of Trinity College; who disputing with a brother parson on the comparative rapidity with which they read the liturgy, offered to give him as far as Pontius Pilate in the Belief."
"of or in the manner of Anacreon," the "convivial bard of Greece," celebrated lyrical poet (560-478 B.C.E.), born at Teos in Ionia. Also in reference to his lyric form (1706) of a four-line stanza, rhymed alternately, each line with four beats (three trochees and a long syllable), also "convivial and amatory" (1801); and "an erotic poem celebrating love and wine" (1650s).
The name is literally "Up-lord," from ana "up" (see ana-) + kreon "lord, master," which Beekes calls "an inherited word from Indo-European poetic language," from PIE *kreih- "splendor," and he compares Sanskrit sri- "magnificence, riches, splendor, fame."
U.S. lawyer and writer Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) in 1814 set or wrote his poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" to the melody of the drinking song of the popular London gentleman's club called The Anacreontic Society, dedicated to "wit, harmony, and the god of wine." The tune is late 18c. and may be the work of society member and court musician John Stafford Smith (1750-1836).