c. 1300, preisen, "to express admiration of, commend, adulate, flatter" (someone or something), from Old French preisier, variant of prisier "to praise, value," from Late Latin preciare, earlier pretiare "to price, value, prize," from Latin pretium "reward, prize, value, worth," from PIE *pret-yo-, suffixed form of *pret-, extended form of root *per- (5) "to traffic in, to sell."
Specifically with God as an object from late 14c. Related: Praised; praising. It replaced Old English lof, hreþ.
The earliest sense in English was the classical one, "to assess, set a price or value on" (mid-13c.); also "to prize, hold in high esteem" (late 13c.). Now a verb in most Germanic languages (German preis, Danish pris, etc.), but only in English is it differentiated in form from its doublets price (q.v.) and prize, which represent variants of the French word with the vowel leveled but are closer in sense to the Latin originals.
"expression of approbation or esteem because of some virtue, performance, or quality," early 14c., from praise (v.). Not common until 16c.; the earlier noun, and the common one through most of the Middle English period, was praising (c. 1200).
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
[Pope, "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot"]
updated on October 04, 2020