c. 1200, "feeling of relief in affliction or sorrow; solace, consolation" (as still in take comfort); also "source of alleviation or relief;" from Old French confort "consolation, solace; pleasure, enjoyment," from conforter "to solace; to help,
strengthen" (see comfort (v.)). An Old English word in the same sense was frofor. Meaning "state of enjoyment resulting from satisfaction of bodily wants and freedom from anxiety" is from mid-13c. Also in Middle English "strength, support, encouragement" (late 14c.). Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from 1650s.
late 13c., conforten "to cheer up, console, soothe when in grief or trouble," from Old French conforter "to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen," from Late Latin confortare "to strengthen much" (used in Vulgate), from assimilated form of Latin com-, here probably an intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis "strong" (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c.
In Middle English also "give or add strength to" (c. 1300); "encourage, urge, exhort" (c. 1300). Related: Comforted; comforting.
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