aesthete (n.) Look up aesthete at Dictionary.com
attested from 1878, in vogue 1881, from Greek aisthetes "one who perceives," from stem of aisthanesthai "to perceive (by the senses or by the mind), to feel," from PIE *awis-dh-yo-, from root *au- "to perceive" (see audience). Or perhaps from aesthetic on the model of athlete/athletic.
1. Properly, one who cultivates the sense of the beautiful; one in whom the artistic sense or faculty is highly developed; one very sensible of the beauties of nature or art.--2. Commonly, a person who affects great love of art, music, poetry, and the like, and corresponding indifference to practical matters; one who carries the cultivation of subordinate forms of the beautiful to an exaggerated extent: used in slight contempt. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

I want to be an aesthete,
And with the aesthetes stand;
A sunflower on my forehead,
And a lily in my hand.
["Puck," Oct. 5, 1881]
The idea is somewhat older than the word. Aesthetician "professor of taste" is from 1829; aestheticist is from 1868.
aesthetic (n.) Look up aesthetic at Dictionary.com
1798, from German Ästhetisch (mid-18c.) or French esthétique (which is from German), ultimately from Greek aisthetikos "of or for perception by the senses, perceptive," of things, "perceptible," from aisthanesthai "to perceive (by the senses or by the mind), to feel," from PIE *awis-dh-yo-, from root *au- (4) "to perceive" (see audience).

Popularized in English by translations of Kant and used originally in the classically correct sense "science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception" [OED]. Kant had tried to reclaim the word after Alexander Baumgarten had taken it in German to mean "criticism of taste" (1750s), but Baumgarten's sense attained popularity in English c. 1830s (despite scholarly resistance) and freed the word from philosophy. Walter Pater used it (1868) to describe the late 19c. movement that advocated "art for art's sake," which further blurred the sense. As an adjective by 1798 "of or pertaining to sensual perception;" 1821 as "of or pertaining to appreciation of the beautiful." Related: Aesthetically.
aestheticism (n.) Look up aestheticism at Dictionary.com
"devotion to what is sensuously beautiful," 1855, from aesthetic + -ism.
aesthetics (n.) Look up aesthetics at Dictionary.com
1803, from aesthetic (adj.); also see -ics.
aet. Look up aet. at Dictionary.com
"aged (some number of years)," abbreviation of Latin aetatis "of the age of," genitive singular of aetas "age" (see age (n.)). "Chiefly used in classic or scholarly epitaphs or obituaries" [Century Dictionary].
aetio- Look up aetio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element used in chemistry and indicating "a fundamental degradation product of a complex organic compound" [Flood], from Latinized comb. form of Greek aitia "a cause, an origin" (see etiology). In older, general use it has been reduced in English to etio- (see æ(1)).
afanc (n.) Look up afanc at Dictionary.com
cattle-devouring aquatic monster in Celtic countries, from Celtic *abankos "water-creature," from *ab- "water" (source also of Welsh afon, Breton aven "river," Latin amnis "stream, river," which is believed to be of Italo-Celtic origin), from PIE root *ap- (2) "water" (see water (n.1)).
afar (adv.) Look up afar at Dictionary.com
contraction of Middle English of feor (late 12c.), on ferr (c. 1300), from Old English feor "far" (see far); the a- (1) in compounds representing both of and on (which in this use meant the same thing). Spelled afer in 14c.
afeared (adj.) Look up afeared at Dictionary.com
Old English afæred, past participle of now-obsolete afear (Old English afæran) "terrify, cause to fear," from a- (1) + færan (see fear (v.)). Used frequently by Shakespeare, but supplanted in literary English after 1700 by afraid (q.v.), to which it has no connection. It survived in popular speech and colloquial writing.
affability (n.) Look up affability at Dictionary.com
"readiness to be sociable or to converse," late 15c., from Old French affabilité (14c.), noun of quality from affable (see affable).
affable (adj.) Look up affable at Dictionary.com
of persons, "open to conversation or approach," late 15c., from Old French affable "benign, approachable" (14c.), from Latin affabilis "approachable, courteous, kind, friendly," literally "who can be (easily) spoken to," from affari "to speak to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fari "to speak," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)). Related: Affably.
affair (n.) Look up affair at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "what one has to do, ordinary business," from Anglo-French afere, Old French afaire "business, event; rank, estate" (12c., Modern French affaire), from the infinitive phrase à faire "to do," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + facere "to do, make" (see factitious).

According to OED a Northern word originally, brought into general use and given a French spelling by Caxton (15c.). General sense of "vague proceedings" (in romance, war, etc.) first attested 1702. Meaning "an affair of the heart; a passionate episode" is from French affaire de coeur (itself attested as a French phrase in English from 1809); to have an affair with someone in this sense is by 1726, earlier have an affair of love:
'Tis manifeſtly contrary to the Law of Nature, that one Woman ſhould cohabit or have an Affair of Love with more than one Man at the ſame time. ["Pufendorf's Law of Nature and Nations," transl. J. Spavan, London, 1716]
Related: Affairs.
affect (n.) Look up affect at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "mental state," from Latin affectus "disposition, mood, state of mind or body produced by some external influence," noun use of adjective affectus "disposed, constituted, inclined," literally "furnished, supplied, endowed," past participle of afficere "to do; treat, use, manage, handle; act on, do something to; attack with disease; have influence on, apply force to," a verb used of many different actions, literally "to do to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + facere (past participle factus) "to make, do" (see factitious). Perhaps obsolete outside of psychology, where it is a modern coinage, translating German Affekt. Related: Affects.
affect (v.2) Look up affect at Dictionary.com
"to make a pretense of," 1660s, earlier "to assume the character of (someone)," 1590s; originally in English in a now-obsolete sense "aim at, aspire to, desire" (early 15c.), from Old French afecter (15c.), later affecter, from Latin affectare "to strive after, aim at, aspire to," frequentative of afficere (past participle affectus) "to do something to, act on, influence" (see affect (n.)). Related: Affected; affecting.
affect (v.1) Look up affect at Dictionary.com
"to make a mental impression on," 1630s; earlier "to attack" (c. 1600), "act upon, infect" (early 15c.), from affect (n.) or from Latin affectus "disposition, mood, state of mind or body produced by some external influence." Related: Affected; affecting. "The two verbs, with their derivatives, run into each other, and cannot be completely separated" [Century Dictionary].
affectation (n.) Look up affectation at Dictionary.com
"studied display, artificiality of manner or conduct," 1540s, from Middle French affectation (16c.) or directly from Latin affectationem (nominative affectatio) "a striving after, a claiming," noun of action from past participle stem of affectare "to strive for" (see affect (v.2)).
affected (adj.2) Look up affected at Dictionary.com
1530s, "favorably disposed" (now obsolete but preserved in disaffected), past-participle adjective from affect (v.1). From 1610s as "under the influence of, afflicted."
affected (adj.1) Look up affected at Dictionary.com
"artificially displayed," 1580s, past participle adjective from affect (v.2) "make a pretense of." Related: Affectedly.
affecting (adj.) Look up affecting at Dictionary.com
"having power to move or excite the feelings," 1720, present-participle adjective from affect (v.1).
affection (n.) Look up affection at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, affeccioun, "desire, inclination, wish, intention;" mid-14c., "an emotion of the mind, passion, lust as opposed to reason;" from Old French afection (12c., Modern French affection) "emotion, inclination, disposition; love, attraction, enthusiasm," from Latin affectionem (nominative affectio) "a relation, disposition; a temporary state; a frame, constitution," noun of state from past participle stem of afficere "to do something to, act on" (see affect (n.)).

Sense developed in Latin from "disposition" to "good disposition, zealous attachment." In English the sense of "love" is from late 14c. Formally it goes with affect (v.2), but it has absorbed some sense from (v.1). Related: Affections.
affectionate (adj.) Look up affectionate at Dictionary.com
1580s, "fond, loving," from affection + -ate (1); suggested by French affectionné. Early, now mostly obsolete, senses included "prejudiced" (1530s), "inclined" (1530s), "passionate" (1540s), "earnest" (c. 1600). Other forms also used in the main modern sense of this word included affectual "zealous; affectionate" (early 15c.), affectuous "eager, loving" (mid-15c.), affectious (1580s), from Latin affectuosus. Related: Affectionately.
affiance (v.) Look up affiance at Dictionary.com
1520s, "to promise," from Old French afiancier "to pledge, promise, give one's word," from afiance (n.) "confidence, trust," from afier "to trust," from Late Latin affidare, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fidare "to trust," from fidus "faithful," from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust" (see faith).

From mid-16c. especially "to promise in marriage." The earlier form of the word was affy (Middle English affien "to trust, have faith; have faith in" c. 1300), from Old French afier. Related: Affianced; affiancing.
affidavit (n.) Look up affidavit at Dictionary.com
"written declaration upon an oath," 1590s, from Medieval Latin affidavit, literally "he has stated on oath," third person singular perfective of affidare "to trust; to make an oath," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + fidare "to trust," from fidus "faithful," from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust" (see faith). So called from being the first word of sworn statements.
affiliate (v.) Look up affiliate at Dictionary.com
1761, "bring into close association," from Latin affiliatus, past participle of affiliare "to adopt a son," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + filius "son" (see filial). Outside legal use, always figurative. Related: Affiliated; affiliating.
affiliate (n.) Look up affiliate at Dictionary.com
1846, from affiliate (v.) via the adjective. Compare associate (n.). Affiliated society in reference to a local society connected with another or associated with a central organization is from 1795.
affiliate (adj.) Look up affiliate at Dictionary.com
"taken into close association," 1858, from affiliate (v.).
affiliation (n.) Look up affiliation at Dictionary.com
1751, "adoption," from French affiliation, from Medieval Latin affiliationem (nominative affiliatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin affiliare "to adopt as a son," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + filius "son" (see filial). Figurative sense of "adoption by a society, of branches" first recorded 1799 (the verb affiliate in a related sense is from 1761). Meaning "friendship, relationship, association" is from 1852.
affinity (n.) Look up affinity at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "relation by marriage" (as opposed to consanguinity), from Old French afinite "relationship, kinship; neighborhood, vicinity" (12c., Modern French affinité), from Latin affinitatem (nominative affinitas) "relationship by marriage; neighborhood," noun of state from affinis "adjoining, adjacent," also "kin by marriage," literally "bordering on," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + finis "a border, a boundary" (see finish (v.)).

Spelling was re-Latinized in early Modern English. Used figuratively in English since c. 1600 of structural relationships in chemistry, philology, geometry, etc. Meaning "natural liking or attraction, a relationship as close as family between persons not related by blood" is from 1610s.
affirm (v.) Look up affirm at Dictionary.com
Middle English affermen, affirmen, "to decide upon" (c. 1300); "to state positively" (late 14c.), from Old French afermer (Modern French affirmer) "affirm, confirm; strengthen, consolidate," from Latin affirmare "to make steady, strengthen," figuratively "confirm, corroborate," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)).

The spelling was refashioned 16c. in French and English on Latin model. Legal sense "declare solemnly (as before a court) but without an oath" is from early 15c. Related: Affirmed; affirming.
affirmation (n.) Look up affirmation at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "assertion that something is true," from Old French afermacion "confirmation" (14c.), from Latin affirmationem (nominative affirmatio) "an affirmation, solid assurance," noun of action from past participle stem of affirmare "to make steady; strengthen; confirm," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)). In law, as the word for the conscientious objector alternative to oath-taking (Quakers, Moravians, etc.), it is attested from 1690s; if false, it incurs the same penalty as perjury.
affirmative (adj.) Look up affirmative at Dictionary.com
"answering 'yes,' " mid-15c., from use in logic; from Old French affirmatif, earlier afirmatif (13c.), from Latin affirmativus, from affirmat-, past participle stem of affirmare "to make steady; strengthen; confirm," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + firmare "strengthen, make firm," from firmus "strong" (see firm (adj.)).

As a noun from early 15c., "that which affirms or asserts." American English affirmative action "positive or corrective effort by employers to prevent discrimination in hiring or promotion" is attested from 1935 with regard to labor unions (reinstatement of fired members, etc.). The specific racial sense is attested from 1961; by late 1970s the sense had shifted toward pro-active methods such as hiring quotas. Related: Affirmatively.
affix (v.) Look up affix at Dictionary.com
"fasten, join, attach," 1530s, from Medieval Latin affixare, frequentative of Latin affigere (past participle affixus) "fasten to, attach," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + figere "fasten" (see fix (v.)).

According to OED first used by Scottish writers and thus perhaps the immediate source was Middle French affixer, a temporarily re-Latinized spelling of Old French afichier (Modern French afficher), from a Medieval Latin variant of the Latin verb. The older form in English was affitch (Middle English afficchen, late 14c.), from Old French afichier. Related: Affixed; affixt; affixing.
affix (n.) Look up affix at Dictionary.com
"that which is joined or attached," 1610s, from affix (v.) or from French affixe, noun use of the adjective from the verb in French. Related: Affixal.
afflatus (n.) Look up afflatus at Dictionary.com
"miraculous communication of supernatural knowledge or power," 1660s, from Latin afflatus "a breathing upon, blast," figuratively "inspiration," noun use of past participle of afflare "to blow upon," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + flare "to blow," from PIE root *bhle- (2) "to blow" (see blow (v.1)). The literal meaning "a blowing or breathing upon" is rare in English, this sense being taken by afflation.
afflict (v.) Look up afflict at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to cast down" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French aflicter, from Latin afflictare "to damage, harass, torment," frequentative of affligere (past participle afflictus) "to dash down, overthrow," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fligere (past participle flictus) "to strike," from PIE root *bhlig- "to strike" (source also of Greek phlibein "to press, crush," Czech blizna "scar," Welsh blif "catapult").

The weakened or transferred meaning "to trouble in body or mind, harass, distress," is attested from 1530s. Related: Afflicted; afflicting.
afflicted (n.) Look up afflicted at Dictionary.com
"person or persons in constant suffering of body or mind," 1650s, noun use of past participle adjective from afflict. Related: Afflictedness.
affliction (n.) Look up affliction at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French afliction (11c.), from Latin afflictionem (nominative afflictio), noun of action from past participle stem of affligere (see afflict).
affluence (n.) Look up affluence at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "a plentiful flowing, an abundant supply," from Old French affluence, from Latin affluentia "affluence, abundance," literally "a flowing to," abstract noun from affluentem (nominative affluens) "flowing toward; abounding, rich, copious" (see affluent). The notion in the figurative Latin sense is of "a plentiful flow" of the gifts of fortune, hence "wealth, abundance of earthly goods," a sense attested in English from c. 1600.
affluent (adj.) Look up affluent at Dictionary.com
early-15c., "abounding in, copious" (of God's grace); mid-15c. "flowing to" (of liquids), both senses now obsolete, from Old French afluent (14c.) or directly from Latin affluentem (nominative affluens) "abounding, rich, copious," literally "flowing toward," present participle of affluere "flow toward," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fluere "to flow" (see fluent). The especial sense of "abounding in wealth or possessions" is from 1769.
affluenza (n.) Look up affluenza at Dictionary.com
in popular use from 1997 in reference to the morally corrosive consequences of wealth or the quest for it, from affluent + ending from influenza.
afflux (n.) Look up afflux at Dictionary.com
"a flowing toward," 1610s, from Medieval Latin affluxus, noun use of past participle of affluere (see affluent).
afford (v.) Look up afford at Dictionary.com
Middle English aforth, from Old English geforðian "to put forth, contribute; further, advance; carry out, accomplish," from ge- completive prefix (which in Middle English regularly reduces to a-; see a- (1)) + forðian "to further," from forð "forward, onward" (see forth).

The prefix shift to af- took place 16c. under mistaken belief that it was a Latin word in ad-; change of -th- to -d- took place late 16c. (and also transformed burthen, spither, murther, etc. into their modern forms).

The notion of "accomplish" (late Old English) gradually became "be able to bear the expense of, have enough money" to do something (late 14c.), and the original senses became obsolete. Of things, "be capable of yielding," 1580s, which is the sense in afford (one) an opportunity. Related: Afforded; affording.
affordable (adj.) Look up affordable at Dictionary.com
"that can be afforded," 1866, from afford + -able. Related: Affordably; affordability.
afforest (v.) Look up afforest at Dictionary.com
"convert to forest" (especially for hunting grounds), c. 1500, from Anglo-Latin afforestare, from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + Medieval Latin forestis (see forest (n.)). Related: Afforestation.
affray (n.) Look up affray at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "fear, terror, state of alarm produced by a sudden disturbance," from Old French affrai, effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from esfreer (v.) "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exfridare, a hybrid word meaning literally "to take out of peace."

The first element is from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-). The second is Frankish *frithu "peace," from Proto-Germanic *frithuz "peace, consideration, forbearance" (source also of Old Saxon frithu, Old English friðu, Old High German fridu "peace, truce," German Freide "peace"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, love" (see free (adj.)). Meaning "breach of the peace, riotous fight in public" is from late 15c., via the notion of "disturbance causing terror."

The French verb also entered Middle English, as afrey "to terrify, frighten" (early 14c.), but it survives almost exclusively in its past participle, afraid (q.v.).
affricative (n.) Look up affricative at Dictionary.com
in phonetics, 1879 (perhaps from German); the elements are -ive + Latin affricat-, past participle stem of affricare "rub against," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + fricare "to rub" (see friction).
affright (v.) Look up affright at Dictionary.com
"frighten, terrify, alarm," mid-15c.; see a- (1) + fright (v.). It probably was back-formed from older affright (adj.) "struck with sudden fear" (which is metathesized from Old English afyrht, past participle of afyrhtan "to frighten, terrify"). The doubled -f- is 16c., probably an erroneous Latin correction of a non-Latin word (compare afford). Related: Affrighted; affrighting; affrightment.
affrighten (v.) Look up affrighten at Dictionary.com
1620s, expanded form of affright (q.v.), probably suggested by the adjective affright; see -en (1). Related: Affrightened; affrightening.
affront (v.) Look up affront at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "offend by open disrespect," a figurative use, from Old French afronter "to face, confront; to slap in the face" (13c., Modern French affronter), from Late Latin affrontare "to strike against," from Latin ad frontem "to the face," from ad (see ad-) + frons (genitive frontis) "forehead, front" (see front (n.)). Related: Affronted; affronting.
affront (n.) Look up affront at Dictionary.com
1590s, "an openly offensive word or deed," from affront (v.) or from French affront (n.), from the verb in French.