late 15c. "body size" (either large or small, with adjective), from Old French corpulence (14c.) "corpulence; physical size, build," from Latin corpulentia "grossness of body," abstract noun from corpulentus "fleshy, fat," from corpus "body" (from PIE root *kwrep- "body, form, appearance") + -ulentus "full of." In English, the restriction to "bulkiness, obesity, largeness of body" began late 16c. Earlier it meant "corporeality" (late 14c.). Related: Corpulency; corpulentness.
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