Since diplomacy & negotiations are getting a lot of air play these days, why not look into these two words?
The words diplomacy & diplomatic made their way into English in the early to mid-1700s through French from Medieval Latin (followed by diplomat in the early 1800s). The original root meant paper folded double, or fold over, & soon came to be associated with official certificates, charts & licenses. This same root gave us the word diploma.
It wasn’t until 1787 that diplomacy began to mean international relations. By 1826 the word diplomatic came to mean tactful & adroit.
The noun negotiation showed up in English in the early 1400s (through Old French from Latin), meaning business or trade. It is constructed of the word parts neg- (no) & -otium (leisure), & actually translates to a lack of leisure — suggesting that those involved in negotiations are clearly involved in business as opposed to recreation. In the 1800s, fox hunters (certainly not suffering from a lack of leisure) began using the term negotiate to mean to clear on horseback a fence or other obstacle. Over the years, this meaning generalized to the point that negotiate gained the meaning to tackle successfully.
So of late the news has been filled with tactful, adroit, non-leisurely folding over. Interesting.
Any thoughts on all this? Please leave them in the comment section.