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." Restriction to "bulkiness, obesity" began late 16c. Related: Corpulency.
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