1670s, "height" of a situation or condition, later "legal standing of a person" (1791), from Latin status "condition, position, state, manner, attitude," from past participle stem of stare "to stand," from PIE *ste-tu-, from root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Sense of "standing in one's society or profession" is from 1820. Status symbol first recorded 1955; status-seeker from 1956. Status-anxiety is from 1959.
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