Words related to design
active word-forming element in English and in many verbs inherited from French and Latin, from Latin de "down, down from, from, off; concerning" (see de), also used as a prefix in Latin, usually meaning "down, off, away, from among, down from," but also "down to the bottom, totally" hence "completely" (intensive or completive), which is its sense in many English words.
As a Latin prefix it also had the function of undoing or reversing a verb's action, and hence it came to be used as a pure privative — "not, do the opposite of, undo" — which is its primary function as a living prefix in English, as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), de-escalate (1964), etc. In some cases, a reduced form of dis-.
early 13c., signe, "gesture or motion of the hand," especially one meant to express thought or convey an idea, from Old French signe "sign, mark," from Latin signum "identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof; military standard, ensign; a signal, an omen; sign in the heavens, constellation."
According to Watkins, literally "standard that one follows," from PIE *sekw-no-, from root *sekw- (1) "to follow." De Vaan has it from PIE *sekh-no- "cut," from PIE root *sek- "to cut" He writes: "The etymological appurtenance to seco 'to cut' implies a semantic shift of *sek-no- 'what is cut out', 'carved out' > 'sign'." But he also also compares Hebrew sakkin, Aramaic sakkin "slaughtering-knife," and mentions a theory that "both words are probably borrowed from an unknown third source."
It has ousted native token. By c. 1300 as "an indication of some coming event." The meaning "a visible mark or device having some special meaning" is recorded from late 13c.; that of "miraculous manifestation, a miracle demonstrating divine power" is from c. 1300. In reference to one of the 12 divisions of the zodiac, from mid-14c.
The sense of "inscribed board with a characteristic device attached to the front of an inn, shop, etc.," to distinguish it from others is recorded from mid-15c. The meaning "indicator, token or signal of some condition" (late 13c.) is behind sign of the times (1520s). The meaning "conventional mark or symbol in place of words" (in music, mathematics, etc., as in plus sign) is by 1550s. In some uses, the word probably is a shortening of ensign.
early 15c., "marked out, indicated" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin designatus, past participle of designare "mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint," from de "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "identifying mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Meaning "appointed or nominated but not yet installed" is from 1640s.
"scheming, artful, intriguing," 1670s, present-participle adjective from design (v.). Earlier "characterized by constructive forethought" (1650s).
1640s, "one who schemes or plots;" agent noun from design (v.). In manufacturing or the fine arts, "one who makes an artistic design or a construction plan" is from 1660s. In fashion, as an adjective, "bearing the label of a famous clothing designer" (thus presumed to be expensive or prestigious), from 1966. Designer drug, one that mimics an illegal narcotic but has a different chemical composition so as to avoid legal restrictions, is attested by 1983.