late 14c., "pertaining to position," originally medical: "confined to a particular part of the body;" from Old French local "local" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin localis "pertaining to a place," from Latin locus "a place, spot" (see locus).
The meaning "limited to a particular place" is from c. 1500. Local color is from 1721, originally a term in painting; the meaning "anything picturesque" is from c. 1900. Local option (1868, American English) is from the prohibition movement: "the right of a community to vote on whether to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor there." Local talent "attractive women thereabouts" is from 1947 in UK slang; earlier it was used in reference to entertainment acts in shows, radio broadcast, etc.
Thus, with the local talent, we have many factors which help "sell" is in quantities far beyond what the commercial market would carry. Pride in children, interest in relatives and friends, and pride in locality all give impetus to the development of home talent. [Horace Boies Hawthorn, "The Sociology of Rural Life," 1926]
early 15c., "a medicament applied to a particular part of the body," from local (adj.). The Old French adjective also was used as a noun, "place, position." Meaning "inhabitant of a particular locality" is from 1825. The meaning "local item in a newspaper" is from 1869; that of "a local train" is from 1879; "local branch of a trade union" is from 1888; "neighborhood pub" is from 1934.
updated on December 07, 2018