pleasant (adj.) Look up pleasant at
late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from Old French plaisant "pleasant, pleasing, agreeable" (12c.), present participle of plaisir "to please, give pleasure to, satisfy," from Latin placere "to be acceptable, be liked, be approved" (see please). Pleasantry has the word's modern French sense of "funny, jocular." Related: Pleasantly.
pleasantry (n.) Look up pleasantry at
"sprightly humor in conversation," 1650s, from French plaisanterie "joke, jest; joking, jesting," from plaisant "pleasant, pleasing, agreeable" (see pleasant). Related: Pleasantries.
please (v.) Look up please at
early 14c., "to be agreeable," from Old French plaisir "to please, give pleasure to, satisfy" (11c., Modern French plaire, the form of which is perhaps due to analogy of faire), from Latin placere "to be acceptable, be liked, be approved," related to placare "to soothe, quiet" (source of Spanish placer, Italian piacere), from PIE *pl(e)hk- "to agree, be pleasant," with cognates in Tocharian plak- "to agree," plaki "permission."

Meaning "to delight" in English is from late 14c. Inverted use for "to be pleased" is from c. 1500, first in Scottish, and paralleling the evolution of synonymous like (v.). Intransitive sense (do as you please) first recorded c. 1500; imperative use (please do this), first recorded 1620s, was probably a shortening of if it please (you) (late 14c.). Related: Pleased; pleasing; pleasingly.

Verbs for "please" supply the stereotype polite word ("Please come in," short for may it please you to ...) in many languages (French, Italian), "But more widespread is the use of the first singular of a verb for 'ask, request' " [Buck, who cites German bitte, Polish proszę, etc.]. Spanish favor is short for hace el favor "do the favor." Danish has in this sense vær saa god, literally "be so good."
pleased (adj.) Look up pleased at
"satisfied, contented," late 14c., past participle adjective from please (v.).
pleaser (n.) Look up pleaser at
1520s, agent noun from please.
pleasurable (adj.) Look up pleasurable at
1570s, from pleasure (n.) + -able. Related: Pleasurability; pleasurably. For sense, compare comfortable.
pleasure (v.) Look up pleasure at
1530s, "to take pleasure in;" 1550s as "give pleasure to," from pleasure (n.). Sexual sense by 1610s. Related: Pleasured; pleasuring.
pleasure (n.) Look up pleasure at
late 14c., "condition of enjoyment," from Old French plesir, also plaisir "enjoyment, delight, desire, will" (12c.), from noun use of infinitive plaisir (v.) "to please," from Latin placere "to please, give pleasure, be approved" (see please (v.)). Ending altered in English 14c. by influence of words in -ure (measure, etc.). Meaning "sensual enjoyment as the chief object of life" is attested from 1520s.
pleasure-seeker (n.) Look up pleasure-seeker at
from pleasure (n.) + agent noun from seek.
pleat (n.) Look up pleat at
"a fold," 1580s, variant of plait (n.). With a gap in the printed record 17c.-18c., but probably it was in continuous oral use.
pleat (v.) Look up pleat at
1560s, used as the verb version of plait (n.) and probably representing an alternative pronunciation. Related: Pleated; pleating.
pleather (n.) Look up pleather at
by 1991, from plastic + leather.
pleb (n.) Look up pleb at
1856 as a colloquial shortening of plebeian in the ancient Roman sense. West Point sense attested by 1851 (see plebe).
plebe (n.) Look up plebe at
also pleb, "member of the lowest class at a U.S. military academy," 1833, probably a shortened form of plebeian "one of the lower class," which in Latin also had the short form plebs or plebes.
plebeian (n.) Look up plebeian at
"member of the lowest class," 1530s, from Latin plebius "person not of noble rank," from adjective meaning "of the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)).
plebeian (adj.) Look up plebeian at
"of or characteristic of the lower class," 1560s in a Roman historical sense, from Latin plebeius "belonging to the plebs," earlier plebes, "the populace, the common people" (as opposed to patricians, etc.), also "commonality; the mass, the multitude; the lower class," from PIE *ple-, from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill." In general (non-historical) use from 1580s.
plebiscite (n.) Look up plebiscite at
"direct vote of the people," 1860 (originally in reference to Italian unification), from French plébiscite (1776 in modern sense, originally with reference to Switzerland), from Latin plebiscitum "a decree or resolution of the people," from plebs (genitive plebis) "the common people" (see plebeian (adj.)) + scitum "decree," noun use of neuter past participle of sciscere "to assent, vote for, approve," inchoative of scire "to know" (see science). Used earlier (1530s) in a purely Roman historical context. Related: Plebiscitary.
plectrum (n.) Look up plectrum at
something used to pluck the strings of a musical instrument, 1620s, from Latin plectrum, from Greek plektron "thing to strike with" (pick for a lyre, cock's spur, spear point, etc.), from plek-, root of plessein "to strike" (from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike").
pled Look up pled at
past tense and past participle of plead (v.).
pledge (v.) Look up pledge at
c. 1400, "to promise" (something to someone), "to give over as security for repayment," also "promise faith to," from pledge (n.) and from Old French plegier, from plege (n.). From mid-15c. as "to stand surety for, be responsible for;" late 15c. as "to mortgage." Meaning "put (someone) under oath" is from 1570s; sense of "to solemnly promise or guarantee" is from 1590s, as is sense "to drink a toast." Related: Pledged; pledging.
pledge (n.) Look up pledge at
mid-14c., "surety, bail," from Old French plege (Modern French pleige) "hostage, security, bail," probably from Frankish *plegan "to guarantee," from *pleg-, a West Germanic root meaning "have responsibility for" (source also of Old Saxon plegan "vouch for," Middle Dutch plien "to answer for, guarantee," Old High German pflegan "to care for, be accustomed to," Old English pleon "to risk the loss of, expose to danger"), from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed."

Meaning "allegiance vow attested by drinking with another" is from 1630s. Sense of "solemn promise" first recorded 1814, though this notion is from 16c. in the verb. Weekley notes the "curious contradiction" in pledge (v.) "to toast with a drink" (1540s) and pledge (n.) "the vow to abstain from drinking" (1833). Meaning "student who has agreed to join a fraternity or sorority" dates from 1901.
Pleiades (n.) Look up Pleiades at
late 14c., the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, transformed by Zeus into seven stars, from Latin Pleiades, from Greek Pleiades, perhaps literally "constellation of the doves" from a shortened form of peleiades, plural of peleias "dove" (from PIE root *pel- "dark-colored, gray"). Or perhaps from plein "to sail," because the season of navigation begins with their heliacal rising.

Old English had the name from Latin as Pliade. Mentioned by Hesiod (pre-700 B.C.E.), only six now are visible to most people; on a clear night a good eye can see nine (in 1579, well before the invention of the telescope, the German astronomer Michael Moestlin (1550-1631) correctly drew 11 Pleiades stars); telescopes reveal at least 500. Hence French pleiade, used for a meeting or grouping of seven persons.
plein-air (adj.) Look up plein-air at
1894, from French phrase en plein air, literally "in the open air." The style developed among French impressionists c. 1870.
pleio- Look up pleio- at
also pleo-, word-forming element meaning "more," from Greek pleion "larger, greater in quantity, the more part, very many" (comp. of polys "much"), from PIE *ple- (source also of Latin plere "to fill," plebes, "the populace, the common people;" Greek plethein "be full," pleres "full"), possibly a variant of root *pele- (1) "to fill."
pleiotropy (n.) Look up pleiotropy at
1921, from German pleiotrop (1910), from Greek pleion "greater in quantity, the more part, very many" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + trope "a turn, turning" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn"). Related: Pleiotropic; pleiotropism.
Pleistocene (adj.) Look up Pleistocene at
"pertaining to the glacial period," 1839, coined by Lyell from Greek pleistos "most" (superlative of polys "much," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + -cene.
plenary (adj.) Look up plenary at
1510s, earlier plenar (mid-13c.), from Old French plenier, from Medieval Latin plenarius "entire, complete," from Latin plenus "full, filled, greatly crowded; stout, pregnant; abundant, abounding; complete," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill." Related: Plenarily.
plenipotentiary (adj.) Look up plenipotentiary at
1640s, from French plénipotentiaire and directly from Medieval Latin plenipotentiarius "having full power," from Late Latin plenipotens, from Latin plenus "complete, full" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + potentem "powerful" (see potent). As a noun from 1650s.
plenitude (n.) Look up plenitude at
early 15c., from Old French plenitude and directly from Latin plenitudinem (nominative plenitudo) "abundance, completeness, fullness," from plenus "full, filled, greatly crowded; stout, pregnant; abundant, abounding; complete," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill."
plenteous (adj.) Look up plenteous at
c. 1300, plentivous, from Old French plentiveus "fertile, rich" (early 13c.), from plentif "abundant," from plentee "abundance" (see plenty). Related: Plentifully; plentifulness.
plentiful (adj.) Look up plentiful at
late 15c., from plenty + -ful. Related: Plentifully.
plentitude (n.) Look up plentitude at
1610s, erroneous form of plenitude.
plenty (n.) Look up plenty at
mid-13c., "as much as one could desire," from Old French plentee, earlier plentet "abundance, profusion" (12c., Modern French dialectal plenté), from Latin plenitatem (nominative plenitas) "fullness," from plenus "full, filled, greatly crowded; stout, pregnant; abundant, abounding; complete," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill." Meaning "condition of general abundance" is from late 14c. The colloquial adverb meaning "very much" is first attested 1842. Middle English had parallel formation plenteth, from the older Old French form of the word.
plenum (n.) Look up plenum at
1670s, "filled space" (opposite of vacuum), from Latin plenum (spatium) "full (space)," neuter of adjective plenus "full, filled, greatly crowded; stout, pregnant; abundant, abounding; complete," from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill." The meaning "of a full assembly of legislators" is first recorded 1772.
pleo- Look up pleo- at
see pleio-.
pleomorphic (adj.) Look up pleomorphic at
"having more than one form," 1886, from pleo- + -morphe "form" (see Morpheus). Related: Pleomorphism.
pleonasm (n.) Look up pleonasm at
"redundancy in words," 1580s, from Late Latin pleonasmus, from Greek pleonasmos, from pleonazein "to be more than enough, to be superfluous," in grammatical use, "to add superfluously," from comb. form of pleon "more" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill").
pleonastic (adj.) Look up pleonastic at
1778, with -ic + Greek pleonastos "abundant," from pleonazein (see pleonasm). Related: Pleonastical (1650s).
plesiosaurus (n.) Look up plesiosaurus at
1825, from Modern Latin Pleisiosaurus (1821), coined by English paleontologist William Daniel Conybeare (1787-1857) from Greek plesios "near" (related to pelas "near, nearby," and probably from PIE *pelh- "to approach") + -saurus.
plethora (n.) Look up plethora at
1540s, a medical word for "excess of body fluid," from Late Latin plethora, from Greek plethore "fullness," from plethein "be full" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill"). Figurative meaning "too-muchness, overfullness in any respect" is first recorded 1700. Related: Plethoric.
pleura (n.) Look up pleura at
early 15c., medical Latin, from Greek pleura "side of the body, rib," also "flank of an army, page of a book," of unknown origin.
pleural (adj.) Look up pleural at
1835, from pleura + -al (1). Alternative pleuric is attested from 1825.
pleurisy (n.) Look up pleurisy at
late 14c., from Old French pleurisie (13c., Modern French pleurésie) and directly from Late Latin pleurisis "pleurisy," alteration of Latin pleuritis "pain in the side," from Greek pleuritis, from pleura "side of the body, rib," of unknown origin. Spelling altered in Late Latin on model of Latin stem plur- "more" (as in Medieval Latin pluritas "multitude"), as if in reference to "excess of humors."
pleuro- Look up pleuro- at
before vowels pleur-, word-forming element meaning "pertaining to the side; pertaining to the pleura," from Greek pleura (see pleura).
Plexiglas (n.) Look up Plexiglas at
1935, proprietary name (Röhm & Haas) for a substance also sold as Perspex and Lucite. Often written incorrectly as plexiglass.
plexus (n.) Look up plexus at
1680s, Modern Latin, literally "braid, network," noun use of past participle of Latin plectere "to twine, braid, fold," from suffixed form of PIE root *plek- "to plait." Used of a network, such as solar plexus "network of nerves in the abdomen" (see solar). Related: Plexal.
pliable (adj.) Look up pliable at
late 14c., from Old French ploiable "flexible, bendable," from plier "to bend," from Latin plicare "to fold, lay" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait"). Related: Pliably, pliability.
pliant (adj.) Look up pliant at
late 14c., from Old French ploiant "bending, supple; compliant, fickle," as a noun, "turncoat" (13c.), present participle of ploier "to bend," from Latin plicare "to fold, lay" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait"). Figurative sense of "easily influenced" is from c. 1400. Related: Pliancy.
plie (n.) Look up plie at
in ballet, 1892, from French plié, from plier literally "to bend," from Old French ploier "fold, pleat, layer" (12c.), verbal noun from ployer (later pleier) "to bend, to fold," from Latin plicare "to fold, lay" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait").
plier (n.) Look up plier at
"one who folds," 1670s, agent noun from ply (v.).