Etymology
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address (v.)

early 14c., "to guide, aim, or direct," from Old French adrecier "go straight toward; straighten, set right; point, direct" (13c.), from Vulgar Latin *addirectiare "make straight" (source also of Spanish aderezar, Italian addirizzare), from ad "to" (see ad-) + *directiare "make straight," from Latin directus "straight, direct" past participle of dirigere "set straight," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + regere "to direct, to guide, keep straight" (from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line"). Compare dress (v.)).

The oldest sense in English is preserved in the terminology of golf (to address a ball). The meaning "direct for transmission, write as a destination on a message" is from mid-15c. The meaning "direct spoken words (to someone)" is from late 15c. From late 14c. as "to set in order, repair, correct." The attempt (falsely) re-Latinize the spelling to add- began in France 15c. but failed there (the Modern French verb is adresser); it stuck in English. Related: Addressed; addressing.

address (n.)

1530s, "dutiful or courteous approach," from address (v.) and from French adresse (13c., from the verb in French). The meaning "power of directing one's actions and conduct" is from 1590s; that of "act or manner of speaking to" is from 1670s. The sense of "formal speech to an audience" (Gettysburg Address, etc.) is from 1751. Sense of "superscription of a letter" (guiding it to its destination) is from 1712 and led to the meaning "place of residence" (by c. 1816). The transferred use in computer programming is from 1948. Middle English had a noun addressing "control, correction" (late 14c.).

updated on September 14, 2022

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Definitions of address from WordNet
1
address (v.)
speak to;
He addressed the crowd outside the window
Synonyms: turn to
address (v.)
give a speech to;
The chairman addressed the board of trustees
Synonyms: speak
address (v.)
put an address on (an envelope);
Synonyms: direct
address (v.)
direct a question at someone;
address (v.)
address or apply oneself to something, direct one's efforts towards something, such as a question;
address (v.)
greet, as with a prescribed form, title, or name;
Synonyms: call
address (v.)
access or locate by address;
address (v.)
act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression;
Synonyms: cover / treat / handle / plow / deal
address (v.)
speak to someone;
Synonyms: accost / come up to
address (v.)
adjust and aim (a golf ball) at in preparation of hitting;
2
address (n.)
(computer science) the code that identifies where a piece of information is stored;
Synonyms: computer address / reference
address (n.)
the place where a person or organization can be found or communicated with;
address (n.)
the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience;
he listened to an address on minor Roman poets
Synonyms: speech
address (n.)
the manner of speaking to another individual;
he failed in his manner of address to the captain
address (n.)
a sign in front of a house or business carrying the conventional form by which its location is described;
address (n.)
written directions for finding some location; written on letters or packages that are to be delivered to that location;
Synonyms: destination / name and address
address (n.)
the stance assumed by a golfer in preparation for hitting a golf ball;
address (n.)
social skill;
Synonyms: savoir-faire
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.