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    *re- — reassessment (n.)


    *rē-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to reason, count;" a variant of PIE root *ar-, also arə-, "to fit together."ETD *re-.2

    It forms all or part of: Alfred; arraign; arithmetic; Conrad; dread; Eldred; Ethelred; hatred; hundred; kindred; logarithm; Ralph; rate (n.) "estimated value or worth;" rathskeller; ratify; ratio; ration; read; reason; rede; rhyme; riddle (n.1) "word-game;" rite; ritual.ETD *re-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit radh- "to succeed, accomplish;" Greek arithmos "number, amount;" Latin reri "to consider, confirm, ratify," ritus "rite, religious custom;" Old Church Slavonic raditi "to take thought, attend to;" Old Irish im-radim "to deliberate, consider;" Old English rædan "to advise, counsel, persuade; read;" Old English, Old High German rim "number;" Old Irish rim "number," dorimu "I count."ETD *re-.4


    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."ETD re-.2

    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."ETD re-.3

    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)).ETD re-.4

    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 ...."ETD re-.5

    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).ETD re-.6

    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."ETD re-.7

    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.ETD re-.8

    It was used from Middle English in forming words from Germanic as well as Latin elements (rebuild, refill, reset, rewrite), and was used so even in Old French (regret, regard, reward, etc.).ETD re-.9


    word-ending that sometimes distinguish British from American English. In the U.S., the change from -re to -er (to match pronunciation) in words such as fibre, centre, theatre began in late 18c. and became standard there over the next 25 years at the urging of Noah Webster (the 1804 edition of his speller, and especially his 1806 dictionary). The -re spelling, like -our, however, had the authority of Johnson's dictionary behind it and was unmoved in Britain, where it came to be a point of national pride, contra the Yankees.ETD -re.2

    Despite Webster's efforts, -re was retained in words with -c- or -g- (such as ogre, acre, the latter of which Webster insisted to the end of his days ought to be aker, and it was so printed in editions of the dictionary during his lifetime). The -re spelling generally is more justified by conservative etymology, based on French antecedents. It is met today in the U.S. only in Theatre as an element in the proper names of entertainment showplaces, where it is perhaps felt to inspire a perception of bon ton.ETD -re.3


    Latin word once used in various phrases in English, often in legal language, where it means "the condition of something, the matter in hand or point at issue;" literally "thing" (see re). For example res ipsa loquitur "the thing speaks for itself;" res judicata "a point decided by competent authority."ETD res.2


    "with reference to," used from c. 1700 in legalese, from Latin (in) re "in the matter of," from ablative of res "property, goods; matter, thing, affair," from Proto-Italic *re-, from PIE *reh-i- "wealth, goods" (source also of Sanskrit rayi- "property, goods," Avestan raii-i- "wealth"). Its non-legalese use is execrated by Fowler in three different sections of "Modern English Usage."ETD re.2

    reabsorb (v.)

    also re-absorb, "draw or take in anew by absorption," 1761, from re- "back, again" + absorb, or else a back-formation from absorption. Related: Reabsorbed; reabsorbing.ETD reabsorb (v.).2

    reabsorption (n.)

    also re-absorption, "act of reabsorbing; state of being reabsorbed," 1718, from re- "back, again" + absorption. Also compare French réabsorption.ETD reabsorption (n.).2

    reaccustom (v.)

    also re-accustom, "to habituate again," 1610s, from re- + accustom. Related: Reaccustomed; reaccustoming.ETD reaccustom (v.).2

    reach (n.)

    "continuous stretch or course," 1520s, from reach (v.); earliest use is of stretches of water. Meaning "extent of reaching" is from 1540s; that of "act of reaching" is from 1560s; that of "limit or scope of extension" is from 1570s. To be out of (one's) reach "unattainable" is by 1690s.ETD reach (n.).2

    reach (v.)

    Middle English rēchen, from Old English ræcan, reccan "to reach out, stretch or extend outward, hold forth, extend in continuity or scope," also "to succeed in touching, succeed in striking;" also "to address, speak to," also "to offer, present, give, grant."ETD reach (v.).2

    This is proposed to be from Proto-West Germanic *raikejanan "stretch out the hand" (source also of Old Frisian reka "to give, pay," Middle Dutch reken, reiken, Old High German reihhen, reichen "give, reach out, get," Dutch reiken, German reichen "to reach, to pass, to hand, to give; to be sufficient"), from Proto-Germanic *raikijanau, which is probably from PIE root *reig- "to stretch, stretch out, be stretched; be stiff."ETD reach (v.).3

    Sometimes 16c. spelled retch. As "to hand (someone something), give" from c. 1300. The meaning "arrive at, succeed in getting to" is early 14c.; that of "succeed in influencing" is from 1660s. Related: Reached; reaching. Shakespeare uses the now-obsolete past tense form raught (Old English ræhte).ETD reach (v.).4

    Colloquial reach-me-down "ready-made" (of clothes) is recorded from 1862, from notion of being on the rack in a finished state.ETD reach (v.).5

    reachable (adj.)

    "that may be reached, capable of being reached," 1690s; see reach (v.) + -able.ETD reachable (adj.).2

    reacquaint (v.)

    also re-acquaint, "make acquainted again, bring back into acquaintance," 1640s, from re- + acquaint. Related: Reacquainted; reacquainting.ETD reacquaint (v.).2

    reacquire (v.)

    also re-acquire, "to get or gain anew, to obtain again," 1690s, from re- "back, again" + acquire. Related: Reacquired; reacquiring.ETD reacquire (v.).2

    reacquisition (n.)

    also re-acquisition, "act of acquiring anew; that which is reacquired," 1796, from re- "back, again" + acquisition or else a noun formed to go with reacquire.ETD reacquisition (n.).2

    react (v.)

    1640s, "to exert, as a thing acted upon, an opposite action upon the agent," from re- "back" + act (v.). Related: Reacted; reacting (1610s). For sense development, see reaction. The verb meaning "to perform again, do a second time" (often written re-act and given full pronunciation of the prefix to distinguish it from react) is from 1650s, from the "again" sense in re-.ETD react (v.).2

    reactant (n.)

    "a reacting thing," 1901, from react + -ant. As an adjective by 1911. Related: Reactance (1893).ETD reactant (n.).2

    reaction (n.)

    "action in resistance or response to another action or power," 1640s, from re- "back, again, anew" + action (q.v.). Modeled on French réaction, older Italian reattione, from Medieval Latin reactionem (nominative reactio), a noun of action formed in Late Latin from the past-participle stem of Latin reagere "react," from re- "back" + agere "to do, perform."ETD reaction (n.).2

    Originally a word in physics and dynamics. In chemistry, "mutual or reciprocal action of chemical agents upon each other," by 1836. The general sense of "action or feeling in response" (to a statement, event, etc.) is recorded from 1914. Reaction time, "time elapsing between the action of an external stimulus and the giving of a signal in reply," attested by 1874.ETD reaction (n.).3

    reactionary (adj.)

    1831, "of or pertaining to political reaction, tending to revert from a more to a less advanced policy," on model of French réactionnaire (19c.), from réaction (see reaction). In Marxist use by 1858 as "tending toward reversing existing tendencies," opposed to revolutionary and used opprobriously in reference to opponents of communism. Non-political use, "of or pertaining to a (chemical, etc.) reaction" (1847) is rare. As a noun, "person considered reactionary," especially in politics, one who seeks to check or undo political action, by 1855.ETD reactionary (adj.).2

    reactivate (v.)

    "make active or operative again," 1902, from re- "back, again" + activate. Related: Reactivated; reactivating; reactivation.ETD reactivate (v.).2

    reactive (adj.)

    1712, "repercussive, echoing," a sense now obsolete, from react + -ive. By 1822 as "caused by a reaction;" 1888 as "susceptible to (chemical) reaction." Related: Reactively; reactiveness; reactivity.ETD reactive (adj.).2

    reactor (n.)

    "one that reacts," 1835, agent noun in Latin form from react. By 1915 in electricity as "coil or other piece of equipment which provides reactance in a circuit;" the nuclear sense is attested from 1945.ETD reactor (n.).2

    read (v.)

    Middle English reden, ireden, "to counsel, advise," also "to read," from Old English rædan, gerædan (West Saxon), redan, geredan (Anglian) "to advise, counsel, persuade; discuss, deliberate; rule, guide; arrange, equip; forebode; to read (observe and apprehend the meaning of something written), utter aloud (words, letters, etc.); to explain; to learn through reading; to put in order."ETD read (v.).2

    This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *redan, source also of Old Norse raða, Old Frisian reda, Dutch raden, Old High German ratan, German raten "to advise, counsel, interpret, guess," from PIE root *re- "to reason, count."ETD read (v.).3

    Cognate words in most modern Germanic languages still mean "counsel, advise" (compare rede). Old English also had a related noun ræd, red "advice," and read is connected to riddle (n.1) via the notion of "interpret." Century Dictionary notes that the past participle should be written red, as it formerly was, and as in lead/led. Middle English past participle variants include eradde, irad, ired, iræd, irudde.ETD read (v.).4

    The sense-transference to "interpret and understand the meaning of written symbols" is said to be unique to English and (perhaps under Old English influence) Old Norse raða. Most languages use a word rooted in the idea of "gather up" as their word for "read" (such as French lire, from Latin legere).ETD read (v.).5

    Sense of "make out the character of (a person)" is attested from 1610s. Musical sense of "perform (at first sight) from the notes" is by 1792. To read up "systematically study" is from 1842; read out (v.) "expel by proclamation" (Society of Friends) is from 1788. Read-only in computer jargon is recorded from 1961.ETD read (v.).6


    county town of Berkshire, Old English Readingum (c. 900), "(Settlement of) the family or followers of a man called *Read."ETD Reading.2

    read (n.)

    "an act of reading, a perusal," 1825, colloquial, from read (v.). The older word for "an act of reading " was reading (Old English). In reference to a written or printed work regarded as to character or quality (a good read, etc.), by 1870.ETD read (n.).2

    read (adj.)

    1580s, "having knowledge gained from reading," now especially in well-read, past-participle adjective from read (v.).ETD read (adj.).2

    reading (n.)

    Middle English reding, from Old English ræding, "a reading, the act or process of reading" either silent or aloud, also "that which is read, a passage or lesson," a verbal noun to go with read (v.).ETD reading (n.).2

    The meaning "interpretation, act of interpreting" is from mid-14c. (in reference to dreams). Meaning "a form of a passage of text" is from 1550s; that of "a public event featuring reading aloud" is from 1787. Reading-desk, one adapted for use in reading, is by 1703; reading-glass is from 1660s. Reading-room, one furnished with newspapers, periodicals, etc., is from 1759.ETD reading (n.).3

    readable (adj.)

    early 15c., redable, "legible," from read (v.) + -able. The meaning "of sufficient interest to be read" is by 1771. Related: Readably; readableness.ETD readable (adj.).2

    readability (n.)

    1829, "readableness," especially "quality that makes something pleasurable or interesting to read;" from readable + -ity.ETD readability (n.).2

    reader (n.)

    Old English rædere "one who counsels; person who reads aloud to others; lector; scholar; diviner, interpreter," agent noun from rædan (see read (v.)) in its various senses. Compare Dutch rader "adviser," Old High German ratari "counselor." The Old English fem. form was rædistre. Meaning "a reading book for schools" is by 1789.ETD reader (n.).2

    readership (n.)

    1719, "office of a reader," from reader + -ship. Meaning "total number of readers of a publication" is from 1914.ETD readership (n.).2

    ready (v.)

    early 13c., redien, "to administer" (a sense now obsolete); c. 1300, "to take aim;" mid-14c., "to make (something) ready, prepare, put into proper condition or order," from ready (adj.). "Somewhat rare between the 15th and 19th c." [OED]. Related: Readied; readying. Compare Dutch reeden "prepare, dress; German bereiten, Danish berede "prepare, get ready;" also compare redd (v.).ETD ready (v.).2

    ready (adj.)

    Middle English redi, with adjectival suffix -i (as in busy, crafty, hungry, etc.) + Old English ræde, geræde "prepared, ready, suitably equipped;" of a horse, "ready for riding."ETD ready (adj.).2

    This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *(ga)raitha- "arranged" (source also of Old Frisian rede "ready," Middle Dutch gereit, Old High German reiti, Middle High German bereite, German bereit, Old Norse greiðr "ready, plain," Gothic garaiþs "ordered, arranged"), which is perhaps from PIE root *reidh- "to ride" (see ride (v.)).ETD ready (adj.).3

    Lengthened in Middle English by change of ending. Sense of "at hand, present, available" is late 12c. Of money, "immediately available," c. 1300, hence slang noun the ready "cash" (1680s). Phrase at the ready "in the position of a soldier's firearm after the command '(make) ready!'" is attested from 1837. As an adverb, c. 1300, "at hand." A ready-reckoner (1757) was a book of tabulated calculations of the sort used in ordinary business and housekeeping.ETD ready (adj.).4

    readiness (n.)

    mid-14c., redinesse, "state of preparation, preparedness, a being or getting ready;" late 14c., "promptness, quickness;" from ready (adj.) + -ness. As "willingness, eagerness" from c. 1400.ETD readiness (n.).2

    readily (adv.)

    c. 1300, redili, "willingly, eagerly;" late 14c., "easily, conveniently," from ready + -ly (2).ETD readily (adv.).2

    readjust (v.)

    also re-adjust, 1742, "settle again, put in order again," from re- "back, again" + adjust. Later "adjust in a new way, make a new adjustment" (19c.). OED compares Medieval Latin readjustare. Related: Readjusted; readjusting; readjustment.ETD readjust (v.).2

    readmission (n.)

    also re-admission, "act of admitting again," 1650s, from re- "back, again" + admission or else a noun formed to go with readmit. Alternative readmittance "permission to enter again" is from 1660s.ETD readmission (n.).2

    readmit (v.)

    also re-admit, 1610s, "to admit again," from re- "back, again" + admit. Related: Readmitted; readmitting.ETD readmit (v.).2

    readout (n.)

    also read-out, 1946 in the computer sense, "extraction or transfer of data from a storage device," from the verbal phrase; see read (v.) + out (adv.).ETD readout (n.).2

    ready-made (adj.)

    early 15c., "prepared," from the verbal phrase make ready (mid-14c. as "prepare;" late 14c. as "put in order"); see make (v.) + ready (adj.). Applied figuratively, and often disparagingly, to a thing or person seeming to exist in a finished or complete form (1738). As the name of a dada art style, 1915 (Duchamp). Ready-to-wear, of clothing, "ready made," is by 1890.ETD ready-made (adj.).2

    reaffirmation (n.)

    also re-affirmation, "renewed or repeated affirmation," 1845, noun of action from reaffirm. The earlier noun was reaffirmance (1726).ETD reaffirmation (n.).2

    reaffirm (v.)

    also re-affirm, 1610s, "to confirm anew," from re- "back, again" + affirm. Meaning "to assert anew" is attested from 1842. Related: Reaffirmed; reaffirming.ETD reaffirm (v.).2

    reafforest (v.)

    also re-afforest, 1882, "replant with trees;" see re- "back, again" + afforest. It was used earlier in a now-obsolete sense of "restore (land) to the legal status of a forest" (1660s). Related: Reafforested; reafforestation.ETD reafforest (v.).2


    surname, from Irish riagan, literally "little king." Often in reference to Ronald W. Reagan (1911-2004), U.S. governor of California 1967-75, U.S. president 1981-89. Reaganism "policies and principles of Reagan and his supporters" is by 1966 in a California context. Reaganomics, "economic policies of U.S. President Ronald Reagan," is attested by February 1981.ETD Reagan.2

    reagent (n.)

    1785, originally in chemistry, "a substance used to effect chemical change in another substance to render its nature more evident," from re- + agent (n.) "substance that produces a chemical reaction."ETD reagent (n.).2

    reaggravate (v.)

    also re-aggravate, 1610s, "to make still heavier" (a sense now obsolete), from re- "again" + aggravate. The same word was used late 15c. as a past-participle adjective meaning "censured a second time." Related: Reaggravated; reaggravating; reaggravation.ETD reaggravate (v.).2

    realness (n.)

    "state, condition, or quality of being or appearing real," 1640s; see real (adj.) + -ness.ETD realness (n.).2

    real (adj.)

    early 14c., "actually existing, having physical existence (not imaginary);" mid-15c., "relating to things" (especially property), from Old French reel "real, actual," from Late Latin realis "actual," in Medieval Latin "belonging to the thing itself," from Latin res "property, goods, matter, thing, affair," which de Vaan traces to a PIE *Hreh-i- "wealth, goods," source also of Sanskrit rayim, rayah "property, goods," Avestan raii-i- "wealth."ETD real (adj.).2

    The meaning "genuine" is recorded from 1550s; the sense of "unaffected, no-nonsense" is from 1847. Real estate, the exact term, "land, including what is naturally or artificially on or in it" is recorded from 1660s, but as far back as Middle English real was used in law in reference to immovable property, paired with, and distinguished from, personal. The noun phrase real time is from early 19c. in logic and philosophy, from 1953 as an adjectival phrase in reference to "the actual time during which an event or process occurs," with the rise of computer processes. Get real, usually an interjection, was U.S. college slang in 1960s, reaching wide popularity c. 1987. As a noun, the real, "that which actually exists," by 1818 (Coleridge). The real thing "the genuine article" is by 1818.ETD real (adj.).3

    real (n.)

    "small silver coin and money of account in Spain and Spanish America," 1580s, from Spanish real, noun use of real (adj.) "regal," from Latin regalis "regal" (see regal). Especially in reference to the real de plata, which circulated in the U.S. till c. 1850 and in Mexico until 1897. The same word was used in Middle English in reference to various coins, from Old French real, a cognate of the Spanish word.ETD real (n.).2

    He adds that, due to different exchange rates of metal to paper money in the different states, the Spanish money had varying names from place to place. The Spanish real of one-eighth of a dollar or 12 and a half cents was a ninepence in New England, one shilling in New York, elevenpence or a levy in Pennsylvania, "and in many of the Southern States, a bit." The half-real was in New York a sixpence, in New England a fourpence, in Pennsylvania a fip, in the South a picayune.ETD real (n.).3

    realia (n.)

    "real things, actual facts," 1952, neuter plural of Late Latin realis "actual, real" (see real (adj.)). Earlier (1950, American English), "objects which may be used as teaching aids but were not made for the purpose" [OED].ETD realia (n.).2

    realignment (n.)

    also re-alignment, 1850, from re- + alignment.ETD realignment (n.).2

    realign (v.)

    also re-align, by 1876 in reference to railroad tracks, "align again or anew," from re- "back, again" + align or else a back-formation from realignment. By 1923 in reference to European international relations, "return to previously aligned positions." Related: Realigned; realigning.ETD realign (v.).2

    realise (v.)

    chiefly British English spelling of realize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Realised; realising; realisation.ETD realise (v.).2

    realism (n.)

    "the doctrine of a realist," in any sense of that word, 1794, originally in philosophy, from real (adj.) + -ism; after French réalisme or German Realismus; from Late Latin realis "real."ETD realism (n.).2

    In reference to scholastic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (opposed to nominalism), it is recorded in English from 1826. Opposed to idealism in philosophy, art, etc. The sense of "tendency to see things as they are" is by 1817. The meaning in art, literature, etc., "close resemblance to the scene, representation of what is real in fact" (often with attention to unpleasant details) is attested from 1856 (Ruskin; compare realistic).ETD realism (n.).3

    realist (n.)

    17c., in philosophy, in senses clustered around the notion of "one who believes in the real existence of the external world, independent of all thought about it," from real (adj.) + -ist, and compare French réaliste. Also see realism. Meaning "artist or writer working by the principles of artistic realism" is by 1870.ETD realist (n.).2

    realistic (adj.)

    1829, of art, literature, etc., "true to reality, exhibiting realism in description or representation;" 1831 as "involving a practical view of life" (opposed to idealistic); see realist + -ic. Related: Realistically.ETD realistic (adj.).2

    reality (n.)

    1540s, "quality of being real, objective reality," from French réalité and directly from Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis (see real (adj.)). Also compare realty, which was the older form of the word in the sense of "reality" (mid-15c.).ETD reality (n.).2

    Meaning "real existence, what is real, the aggregate of all that is real" is from 1640s; that of "the real state (of something)" is from 1680s. Sometimes 17c.-18c. it also meant "sincerity." Reality-based is attested from 1960, in marriage counseling. Reality television is attested from 1991.ETD reality (n.).3

    realization (n.)

    1610s, "action of making real, a bringing or coming into existence;" see realize + -ation. Meaning "action of forming a clear concept, perception of the real existence of something" is from 1828. Related: Realizational.ETD realization (n.).2

    realize (v.)

    1610s, "bring into existence, make or cause to become real," also "exhibit the actual existence of," from French réaliser "make real" (16c.), from real "actual" (see real (adj.)). The sense of "understand clearly, comprehend the reality of" is recorded by 1775. Sense of "obtain, amass, bring or get into actual possession" (money, profit, etc.) is from 1753. Related: Realized; realizing.ETD realize (v.).2

    realizable (adj.)

    "that may be realized" in any sense, 1847; see realize + -able.ETD realizable (adj.).2

    really (adv.)

    c. 1400, "actually, in fact, in a real manner," originally in reference to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, "substantially," from real (adj.) + -ly (2). The general sense is from early 15c. Purely emphatic use dates from c. 1600, "indeed," sometimes as a corroboration, sometimes as an expression of surprise or a term of protest; interrogative use (as in oh, really?) is recorded from 1815.ETD really (adv.).2

    re-ally (v.)

    "to form an alliance again, to connect or unite again," c. 1600, from re- + ally (v.). A doublet of rally (v.1), with hyphenated spelling and full pronunciation of the prefix to distinguish it from really. Related: Re-allied; re-alliance.ETD re-ally (v.).2

    reallocation (n.)

    also re-allocation, "an apportioning or assigning again; that which is reallocated," 1931, noun of action from reallocate (v.).ETD reallocation (n.).2

    reallocate (v.)

    also re-allocate, "apportion or assign again," by 1868, from re- "back, again" + allocate. Related: Reallocated; reallocating.ETD reallocate (v.).2

    realm (n.)

    c. 1300, reaume, "kingdom, domain under a sovereign, royal jurisdiction," from Old French reaume, later realme, variants (in part by influence of Old French reial "regal," from Latin regalis) of roiaume "kingdom."ETD realm (n.).2

    This is possibly from a Gallo-Romance *regiminem, "formed as an accusative on Latin regimen government, rule" [Barnhart; see regimen], or from or as if from Vulgar Latin *regalimen "a kingdom," from Latin regalis [Century Dictionary, OED; see regal], or some combination of the two [Klein]. Realty and royalty tended to come out of Old French in similar forms, and roylty in Middle English also could be spelled realty. (14c., from Old French reaute, realte).ETD realm (n.).3

    The modern spelling predominates from c. 1600. Transferred or figurative sense of "sphere of activity; area of power, influence, or operation" is from late 14c.ETD realm (n.).4

    realpolitik (n.)

    "politics driven by practical considerations" (rather than ideology or morals), 1914, from German Realpolitik (August Ludwig von Rochau, "Grundsätze der Realpolitik," 1853), which can be translated as "practical politics." See real (adj.) + politics.ETD realpolitik (n.).2

    realty (n.)

    1660s, "real estate, real property," from earlier meaning "a real possession" (1540s), earlier still "reality" (mid-15c.), from Old French realite, realte, from Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis "actual" (see real (adj.)). The notion behind the word is the immobility, or the fixed, permanent nature of certain kinds of property, especially landed. Also compare reality.ETD realty (n.).2

    Realtor (n.)

    1916, "real estate agent," American English, as though an agent noun from realty, coined by real estate agent Charles N. Chadbourn of Minneapolis, Minn., to distinguish the legitimate section of the business; popularized 1920s; patented as Realtor by the National Association of Real Estate Boards.ETD Realtor (n.).2

    ream (v.)

    "to enlarge a hole," especially "to widen or enlarge by the use of a rotary cutter," 1815, a word of "somewhat doubtful origin" [OED], but it is probably a southwest England dialectal survival from obsolete Middle English reme "to make room, open up, extend by stretching."ETD ream (v.).2

    This is from Old English ryman "widen, extend, enlarge," from Proto-Germanic *rumijan (source also of Old Saxon rumian, Old Norse ryma, Old Frisian rema, Old High German rumen, German räumen "to make room, widen"), from *rumaz "spacious" (see room (n.)). Related: Reamed; reaming; reamer.ETD ream (v.).3

    Especially with out (adv.). The slang meaning "to cheat, swindle" is recorded by 1914; the sexual sense is attested by 1942. To ream (someone) out in the sense of "to scold, reprimand" is recorded from 1950; earlier it was used of gun barrels, machinery, etc., "to remove (a jam or defect) by reaming" (1861).ETD ream (v.).4

    ream (n.1)

    standard commercial measure of paper, rem, mid-14c., from Old French reyme, from Spanish resma, from Arabic rizmah "bundle" (of paper), from rasama "collect into a bundle." The Moors brought manufacture of cotton paper to Spain.ETD ream (n.1).2

    The exact path of transmission of the word to English is unclear, and it might have entered from more than one language. An early variant rym (late 15c.) suggests a Dutch influence: compare Middle Dutch rieme, Dutch riem, which probably were borrowed from Spanish during the Hapsburg control of Holland. For ordinary writing paper, 20 quires of 24 sheets each, or 480 sheets; often 500 or more to allow for waste; the count varies slightly for drawing or printing paper.ETD ream (n.1).3

    ream (n.2)

    "cream," later also "cream-like froth on any liquid," a word now dialectal or obsolete, Old English ream, from Proto-Germanic *raumoz (source also of Middle Dutch and Dutch room, German Rahm), a word of uncertain origin. Related: Reamy.ETD ream (n.2).2

    reanimate (v.)

    also re-animate, "restore to life, make alive again, revive, resuscitate," 1610s, in both spiritual and physical senses, from re- "back, again" + animate (v.) "endow with life." Sense of "revive when dull or languid" is by 1762. Related: Reanimated; reanimating.ETD reanimate (v.).2

    reanimation (n.)

    also re-animation, "reviving from apparent death; act or action of giving fresh spirits or vigor," 1777, from re- "back, again" + animation or else a noun formed to go with reanimate (v.).ETD reanimation (n.).2

    reap (v.)

    "to cut grain with a hook or sickle, cut and gather a harvest," Middle English repen, from Old English reopan, a Mercian and Northumbrian (Anglian) form of repan, geripan "to reap," related to Old English ripe "ripe" (see ripe). The transferred and figurative use, "to gather in by effort of any kind; gather the fruit of labor or works" is as old as the word itself in English due to Biblical language. Related: Reaped; reaping. Reaping-machine is attested by 1762.ETD reap (v.).2

    reaper (n.)

    Middle English repere (early 14c. in surnames), "a harvester, one who cuts grain with a sickle or other instrument," replacing Old English ripere, agent noun from reap (v.). Sense of "a machine for cutting grain" is by 1841. As the name of a personification of death, by 1818.ETD reaper (n.).2

    reappear (v.)

    also re-appear, "appear again or anew, be seen again, return to sight," 1610s, from re- "back, again," here "repetition of an action,"+ appear. Related: Reappeared; reappearing.ETD reappear (v.).2

    reappearance (n.)

    also re-appearance, "a new appearing, another coming into view," 1660s, from re- "back, again" + appearance or else a noun formed to go with reappear.ETD reappearance (n.).2

    reapply (v.)

    also re-apply, "apply again," 1723, from re- "back, again" + apply (v.). Perhaps a back-formation from reapplication (1690s). Related: Reapplied; reapplying.ETD reapply (v.).2

    reappoint (v.)

    also re-appoint, "to appoint again or anew," 1610s; see re- "back, again" + appoint (v.). Related: Reappointed; reappointing; reappointment.ETD reappoint (v.).2

    reapportion (v.)

    also re-apportion, "make a new apportionment," 1832, from re- + apportion or else a back-formation from reapportionment. Related: Reapportioned; reapportioning.ETD reapportion (v.).2

    reapportionment (n.)

    also re-apportionment, "new proportional distribution or arrangement," 1800, American English, from re- + apportionment. Especially in the U.S., "the redrawing of state or federal legislative districts after a census."ETD reapportionment (n.).2

    reappraise (v.)

    also re-appraise, "reassess in light of new facts," by 1845, from re- "back, again" + appraise (v.). Related: Reappraised; reappraising.ETD reappraise (v.).2

    reappraisal (n.)

    also re-appraisal, "reassessment in light of new facts," by 1846, from re- "back, again" + appraisal, or else a noun formed to go with reappraise (v.).ETD reappraisal (n.).2

    rear (v.1)

    Middle English reren, from Old English ræran "to raise, lift something, cause to rise;" also "to build up, create, set on end; to arouse, excite, stir up," from Proto-Germanic *raizijanau "to raise," causative of *risanan "to rise" (source of Old English risan; see rise (v.)). The second -r- is by rhotacism.ETD rear (v.1).2

    Meaning "bring into being, bring up" (as a child) is recorded by early 15c., perhaps late 14c.; at first it is not easy to distinguish the sense from simply "beget;" the meaning "bring up (animals or persons) by proper nourishment and attention, develop or train physically or mentally" had developed by late 16c.ETD rear (v.1).3

    The intransitive meaning "raise up on the hind legs" is first recorded late 14c. (compare rare (v.)). As what one does in raising or holding high the head, by 1667 ("Rear'd high thir flourisht heads" - Milton); with ugly by 1851. Related: Reared; rearing.ETD rear (v.1).4

    Other uses of rear in Middle English were "set" (fire); "draw" (blood); "wage" (war); "raise" (revenue, tithes); "gather, collect" (a flock of sheep).ETD rear (v.1).5

    rear (n.)

    "hindmost part, the space behind or at the back," c. 1600, abstracted from rerewarde "rear guard, hindmost part of an army or fleet" (mid-14c.), from Anglo-French rerewarde, Old French rieregarde, from the Old French adverb riere "behind" (from Latin retro "back, behind;" see retro-) + Old French garde "guardian" (see guard (n.)).ETD rear (n.).2

    Earliest use often is specifically military, "hindmost body of an army or fleet." The English word in many early examples also may be a shortened form of arrear (see arrears), perhaps a misdivision of the arrears.ETD rear (n.).3

    As a euphemism for "buttocks" it is attested by 1796. As an adverb, "behind," early 15c. As an adjective, "hindmost; pertaining to or situated in the rear," c. 1300, from Old French rere.ETD rear (n.).4

    To bring up the rear "come last in order" is from 1640s. The naval rank of rear admiral is attested from 1580s, said to be so called from his originally ranking "behind" an admiral proper. Rear-view (mirror) is recorded from 1926. Rear-supper (c. 1300) was an old name for "last meal of the day."ETD rear (n.).5

    rear (v.2)

    "attack in the rear," 17c., from rear (n.).ETD rear (v.2).2

    rear-end (n.)

    by 1868, "the back part of anything;" by 1937, "the buttocks;" from rear (adj.) + end (n.). As a verb, "to collide with (another vehicle) from behind," from 1976. Related: Rear-ended; rear-ending.ETD rear-end (n.).2

    reargument (n.)

    also re-argument, "renewed argument," as of a case in court, by 1811; see re- "back, again" + argument.ETD reargument (n.).2

    rearm (v.)

    also re-arm, "provide with a new supply of weapons; acquire a new supply of weapons," 1805 (implied in rearming), from re- "back, again" + arm (v.) "to take up arms; supply with arms." In 20c., especially "to acquire more advanced weapons." Related: Rearmed.ETD rearm (v.).2

    rearmament (n.)

    also re-armament, "a providing with a new supply of weapons; state of acquiring new armaments," 1864; see re- + armament.ETD rearmament (n.).2

    rearrange (v.)

    also re-arrange, "arrange anew, make a different arrangement," 1798, from re- "back, again" + arrange. Related: Rearranged; rearranging; rearrangement.ETD rearrange (v.).2

    rearrest (v.)

    also re-arrest, "to arrest anew or again," 1650s, from re- "back, again" + arrest (v.). Related: Rearrested.ETD rearrest (v.).2

    rearward (adv.)

    "at or to the rear," 1590s, from rear (adj.) + -ward. It had been used in Middle English as a noun meaning "the part of an army behind the main body" (i.e. "rear guard").ETD rearward (adv.).2

    reascend (v.)

    also re-ascend, "to climb or mount again," mid-15c.; see re- "back, again" + ascend. Related: Reascended; reascending.ETD reascend (v.).2

    reasonable (adj.)

    c. 1300, resonable, "having sound judgment, endowed with the faculty of reason," from Old French raisonable, from Latin rationabilis, from ratio "reckoning, understanding, motive, cause," from ratus, past participle of reri "to reckon, think" (from PIE root *re- "to reason, count").ETD reasonable (adj.).2

    Also originally "rational, sane," senses now obsolete. The sense shifted somewhat in Middle English via "due to or resulting from good judgment," then "not exceeding the bounds of common sense."ETD reasonable (adj.).3

    The meaning "moderate in price" is recorded from 1660s; earlier it meant "moderate in amount" (14c.). Related: Reasonably, which is from late 14c. as "according to reason," c. 1500 as "fairly tolerably;" reasonableness.ETD reasonable (adj.).4

    In law, "befitting a person of reason or sound sense;" reasonable doubt (1670s) is doubt for which a pertinent reason can be assigned and which prevents conviction in the minds of jurors of the truth of the charge.ETD reasonable (adj.).5

    reason (v.)

    c. 1400, resounen, "to question (someone)," also "to challenge," from Old French resoner, raisoner "speak, discuss; argue; address; speak to," from Late Latin rationare "to discourse," from Latin ratio "reckoning, understanding, motive, cause," from ratus, past participle of reri "to reckon, think" (from PIE root *re- "to reason, count").ETD reason (v.).2

    The intransitive sense of "to think in a logical manner, exercise the faculty of reason" is from 1590s; transitive sense of "employ reasoning (with someone)" is from 1680s. Related: Reasoned; reasoning.ETD reason (v.).3

    reasoning (n.)

    late 14c., resouning, "exercise of the power of reason; act or process of thinking logically;" also an instance of this, a presentation of reasons or arguments; verbal noun from reason (v.).ETD reasoning (n.).2

    reason (n.)

    c. 1200, resoun, "the intellectual faculty that adopts actions to ends," also "statement in an argument, statement of explanation or justification," from Anglo-French resoun, Old French raison "course; matter; subject; language, speech; thought, opinion," from Latin rationem (nominative ratio) "reckoning, understanding, motive, cause," from ratus, past participle of reri "to reckon, think" (from PIE root *re- "to reason, count").ETD reason (n.).2

    The meaning "sanity; degree of intelligence that distinguishes men from brutes" is recorded from late 13c.; that of "that which recommends itself to enlightened intelligence, a reasonable view of a matter" is from c. 1300.ETD reason (n.).3

    The sense of "grounds for action, motive, cause of an event" is from c. 1300. The Middle English sense of "meaning, signification" (early 14c.) is preserved in the phrase rhyme or reason. For stands to reason see stand (v.). A reason of state (1610s) is a purely political grounds for action.ETD reason (n.).4

    The Enlightenment gave reason its focused sense of "intelligence considered as having universal validity ... so that it is not something that belongs to any person, but is something partaken of, a sort of light in which every mind must perceive" [Century Dictionary]. Reason itself has long been personified, typically as a woman. Age of Reason "the European Enlightenment" is first recorded 1794 as the title of Tom Paine's book.ETD reason (n.).5

    reassemble (v.)

    also re-assemble, late 15c., transitive, "bring or put together again, gather anew," from re- "back, again" + assemble. Intransitive sense of "come together again" is by 1610s. Related: Reassembled; reassembling; reassembler; reassembly; reassemblage.ETD reassemble (v.).2

    reassert (v.)

    also re-assert, 1660s, "proclaim or manifest (a claim, statement, etc.) anew," from re- "back, again" + assert. Related: Reasserted; reasserting; reassertion.ETD reassert (v.).2

    reassess (v.)

    also re-assess, "assess again," 1803; see re- "again" + assess. Related: Reassessed; reassessing.ETD reassess (v.).2

    reassessment (n.)

    also re-assessment, "renewed or repeated assessment," 1751, from re- + assessment.ETD reassessment (n.).2

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