Words related to recess
word-forming element meaning "back, back from, back to the original place;" also "again, anew, once more," also conveying the notion of "undoing" or "backward," etc. (see sense evolution below), c. 1200, from Old French re- and directly from Latin re- an inseparable prefix meaning "again; back; anew, against."
Watkins (2000) describes this as a "Latin combining form conceivably from Indo-European *wret-, metathetical variant of *wert- "to turn." De Vaan says the "only acceptable etymology" for it is a 2004 explanation which reconstructs a root in PIE *ure "back."
In earliest Latin the prefix became red- before vowels and h-, a form preserved in redact, redeem, redolent, redundant, redintegrate, and, in disguise, render (v.). In some English words from French and Italian re- appears as ra- and the following consonant is often doubled (see rally (v.1)).
The many meanings in the notion of "back" give re- its broad sense-range: "a turning back; opposition; restoration to a former state; "transition to an opposite state." From the extended senses in "again," re- becomes "repetition of an action," and in this sense it is extremely common as a formative element in English, applicable to any verb. OED writes that it is "impossible to attempt a complete record of all the forms resulting from its use," and adds that "The number of these is practically infinite ...."
Often merely intensive, and in many of the older borrowings from French and Latin the precise sense of re- is forgotten, lost in secondary senses, or weakened beyond recognition, so that it has no apparent semantic content (receive, recommend, recover, reduce, recreate, refer, religion, remain, request, require). There seem to have been more such words in Middle English than after, e.g. recomfort (v.) "to comfort, console; encourage;" recourse (n.) "a process, way, course." Recover in Middle English also could mean "obtain, win" (happiness, a kingdom, etc.) with no notion of getting something back, also "gain the upper hand, overcome; arrive at;" also consider the legal sense of recovery as "obtain (property) by judgment or legal proceedings."
And, due to sound changes and accent shifts, re- sometimes entirely loses its identity as a prefix (rebel, relic, remnant, restive, rest (n.2) "remainder," rally (v.1) "bring together"). In a few words it is reduced to r-, as in ransom (a doublet of redemption), rampart, etc.
Prefixed to a word beginning with e, re- is separated by a hyphen, as re-establish, re-estate, re-edify, etc. ; or else the second e has a dieresis over it: as, reëstablish, reëmbark, etc. The hyphen is also sometimes used to bring out emphatically the sense of repetition or iteration : as, sung and re-sung. The dieresis is not used over other vowels than e when re is prefixed : thus, reinforce, reunite, reabolish. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
It forms all or part of: abscess; accede; access; ancestor; antecede; antecedent; cease; cede; cession; concede; decease; exceed; excess; incessant; intercede; necessary; precede; predecessor; proceed; recede; recess; recession; secede; secession; succeed; success.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sedhati "to drive, chase away;" Avestan apa-had- "turn aside, step aside;" Latin cedere "to yield, give place; to give up some right or property," originally "to go from, proceed, leave;" Old Church Slavonic chodu "a walking, going," choditi "to go."
mid-15c., ajournement, "act of postponing or deferring (a court, assembly, etc.)," from Old French ajornement "daybreak, dawn; summons (to appear in court)," from ajorner (see adjourn), with unetymological -d- added in English on the mistaken expectation of a Latin origin.
Adjournment is the act by which an assembly suspends its session in virtue of authority inherent in itself; it may be also the time or interval of such suspension. A recess is a customary suspension of business, as during the period of certain recognized or legal holidays .... Recess is also popularly used for a brief suspension of business for any reason: as, it was agreed that there be a recess of ten minutes. [Century Dictionary]
also cess-pool, "cistern or well to receive sediment or filth," 1670s, the first element perhaps an alteration of cistern, or perhaps a shortened form of recess [Klein]; or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c. 1400), "drainpipe," from Old French sospiral "a vent, air hole," from sospirer "breathe," from Latin suspirare "breathe deep" [Barnhart]. Meaning extended to "tank at the end of the pipe," which would account for a possible folk-etymology change in final syllable.
Other possible etymologies: Italian cesso "privy" [OED], from Latin secessus "place of retirement" (in Late Latin "privy, drain"); dialectal suspool, from suss, soss "puddle;" or cess "a bog on the banks of a tidal river."
1640s, "act of receding, a going back," from French récession "a going backward, a withdrawing," and directly from Latin recessionem (nominative recessio) "a going back," noun of action from past-participle stem of recedere "to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire," from re- "back" (see re-) + cedere "to go" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield").
The sense of "temporary decline in economic activity" was a fall-of-1929 coinage, probably a noun of action from recess (v.):
The material prosperity of the United States is too firmly based, in our opinion, for a revival in industrial activity — even if we have to face an immediate recession of some magnitude — to be long delayed. [Economist, Nov. 2, 1929]
Ayto ("20th Century Words") notes, "There was more than a hint of euphemism in the coining of this term."