Words related to divide

Origin and meaning of dis-

word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.

The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").

In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.

As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).

devise (v.)

early 13c., devisen, "to form, fashion;" c. 1300, "to plan, contrive, think or study out, elaborate in the mind," from Old French deviser "dispose in portions, arrange, plan, contrive" (in Modern French, "to chat, gossip"), from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)).

Sense of "give, assign, or transmit by will" is from late 14c. in English, from Old French, via the notion of "to arrange a division." As a noun, "act of bequeathing by will" (1540s), also "a will or testament." Compare device. Related: Devised; devising.

device (n.)

c. 1300, devis, "intent, desire; an expressed intent or desire; a plan or design; a literary composition," from Old French devis "division, separation; disposition, wish, desire; coat of arms, emblem; a bequest in a will, act of bequeathing," from deviser "arrange, plan, contrive," literally "dispose in portions," from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)).

The basic sense is "method by which something is divided," which arose in Old French and led to the range of modern meanings via the notion of "something invented or fitted to a particular use or purpose," hence "an invention; a constructed tool; inventiveness; a contriving, a plan or scheme."

In English from c. 1400 as "artistic design, work of art; ornament," hence especially "a representation of some object or scene, accompanied by a motto or legend, used as an expression of the bearer's aspirations or principles." Also from c. 1400 as "mechanical contrivance," such as a large crossbow fitted with a crank. From mid-15c. as "a bequest in a will." Since c. 1996 the word has come to be used especially for "hand-held or mobile computing or electronic instrument."

We live in a kind of world and in an age of the world where devices of all sorts are growing in complexity, where, therefore, the necessity for alertness and self-mastery in the control of device is ever more urgent. If we are democrats we know that especial perils beset us, both because of the confusion of our aims and because it is easier for the mob than for the individual to mistake appetite for reason, and advantage for right. [Hartley Burr Alexander, "'Liberty and Democracy,' and Other Essays in War-Time," 1918]
dividend (n.)

early 15c., divident, "that which serves as a barrier;"c. 1500, "act of dividing;" from Latin dividendum "thing to be divided," neuter gerundive of dividere "to force apart; to distribute" (see divide (v.)).

From late 15c. as "portion or share of anything to be divided." Sense of "sum to be divided into equal parts" is from 1620s, hence "portion of interest on a loan, stock, etc." Mathematical sense "number or quantity which is to be divided by another" is from 1540s (perhaps immediately from French dividende "a number divided by another"). Related: Dividends.

divider (n.)

1520s, "one who deals out shares to each," agent noun from divide (v.). Sense of "one who or that which separates into parts" is from 1590s; specifically, "partition or screen," especially in a room, from 1959. Sense of "one who disunites or keeps apart" is from 1640s.

divisible (adj.)

"capable of being separated or disunited," early 15c., from Late Latin divisibilis "divisible," from divis-, past-participle stem of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)). Related: Divisibility.

division (n.)

late 14c., divisioun, "act of separating into parts, portions, or shares; a part separated or distinguished from the rest; state of being at variance in sentiment or interest," from Old French division and directly from Latin divisionem (nominative divisio), noun of action from past-participle stem of dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)).

Military sense "portion of an army, fleet, or ship's company" is from 1590s. Mathematical sense of "operation inverse to multiplication" is from late 14c. The mathematical division sign supposedly was invented by British mathematician John Pell (1611-1685) who taught at Cambridge and Amsterdam.

divisive (adj.)

c. 1600, "having a quality of dividing," from divis-, past-participle stem of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)) + -ive. Meaning "creating division, producing discord" is from 1640s. Related: Divisively; divisiveness.

divisor (n.)

"a number by which another number is divided," mid-15c., divisour, from Latin divisor, agent noun from dividere "to divide" (see divide (v.)).

individual (adj.)
Origin and meaning of individual

early 15c., "one and indivisible, inseparable" (with reference to the Trinity), from Medieval Latin individualis, from Latin individuus "indivisible," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + dividuus "divisible," from dividere "divide" (see divide (v.)). Original sense now obsolete; the word was not common before c. 1600 and the 15c. example might be an outlier. Sense of "single, separate, of but one person or thing" is from 1610s; meaning "intended for one person" is from 1889.

Individual views a person as standing alone, or persons as standing separately before the mind: as, the rights of the individual; the rights of individuals: it is incorrect to use individual for person unemphatically ; as, there were several individuals in the room. [Century Dictionary]