1756, "a gradual unfolding, a full working out or disclosure of the details of something;" see develop + -ment. Meaning "the internal process of expanding and growing" is by 1796; sense of "advancement through progressive stages" is by 1836.
Of property, with a sense of "a bringing out of the latent possibilities" for use or profit, from 1885 (Pickering's glossary of Americanisms, 1816, has betterments "The improvements made on new lands, by cultivation, and the erection of buildings, &c."). Meaning "state of economic advancement" is from 1902.
Entries linking to development
1650s, "unroll, unfold" (a sense now obsolete), from French développer. It replaced earlier English disvelop (1590s, from French desveloper); both French words are from Old French desveloper, desvoleper, desvoloper "unwrap, unfurl, unveil; reveal the meaning of, explain," from des- "undo" (see dis-) + voloper "wrap up," which is of uncertain origin, possibly Celtic or Germanic.
The modern uses are figurative and emerged in English 18c. and after: Transitive meaning "unfold more fully, bring out the potential in" is by 1750; intransitive sense of "come gradually into existence or operation" is by 1793; that of "advance from one stage to another toward a finished state" is by 1843. The intransitive meaning "become known, come to light" is by 1864, American English.
The photographic sense "induce the chemical changes necessary to cause a latent picture or image to become visible" is from 1845; the real estate sense of "convert land to practical or profitable use" is by 1865. Related: Developed; developing.Developing as an adjective in reference to poor or primitive countries or nations that are advancing in economic, industrial, and social conditions is by 1960.
common suffix of Latin origin forming nouns, originally from French and representing Latin -mentum, which was added to verb stems to make nouns indicating the result or product of the action of the verb or the means or instrument of the action. In Vulgar Latin and Old French it came to be used as a formative in nouns of action. French inserts an -e- between the verbal root and the suffix (as in commenc-e-ment from commenc-er; with verbs in ir, -i- is inserted instead (as in sent-i-ment from sentir).
The stems to which -ment is normally appended are those of verbs; freaks like oddment & funniment should not be made a precedent of; they are themselves due to misconception of merriment, which is not from the adjective, but from an obsolete verb merry to rejoice. [Fowler]
he congratulated them on their development of a plan to meet the emergency
they funded research and development
the development of his ideas took many years
the slow development of her skill as a writer
he proposed an indicator of osseous development in children
recent developments in Iraq
what a revolting development!
the development of Alaskan resources
such land is practical for small park developments
after he saw the latest development he changed his mind and became a supporter
in chess your should take care of your development before moving your queen
the development and printing of his pictures took only two hours