mid-13c., avauncen (transitive), "improve (something), further the development of," from Old French avancir, avancier "move forward, go forward, set forward" (12c., Modern French avancer), from Vulgar Latin *abanteare (source of Italian avanzare, Spanish avanzar). This is from Late Latin abante "from before," composed of ab "from" (see ab-) + ante "before, in front of, against" (from PIE root *ant- "front, forehead").
Compare French avant "before" (as in avant-garde), which is from the same Late Latin word. The unetymological -d- in English was inserted 16c. on the mistaken notion that initial syllable was from Latin ad-.
It is attested from c. 1300 as "to promote, raise to a higher rank." The intransitive sense of "move forward, move further in front" is by mid-14c.; the transitive meaning "bring forward in place, move (something) forward" is from c. 1500. The meaning "give (money, etc.) before it is legally due" is attested by 1670s. Related: Advanced; advancing. The adjective (in advance warning, etc.) is recorded from 1843.
c. 1300, "boasting, ostentation" (senses now archaic), from advance (v.). Attested from early 15c. as "advancement in rank, wealth, etc.;" the physical sense of "state of being in front" is from 1660s; that of "a move forward or toward the front" is from 1670s. The commercial sense of "something given beforehand" is from 1680s (earlier in this sense was advancement, 1640s). The meaning "military signal to advance" is by 1849. Also "an act of approach" (1670s), hence advances "amorous overtures" (1706).
updated on September 15, 2022