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What did the word “leisure” mean in late 18th Century usage?

What did the word “leisure” mean in late 18th Century usage?

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What did the word "leisure" mean in the name of a Cornish tinmine. It has not been possible for me to find any definition of this term other than in connection with "free time" and suchlike. What could it have signified at the end of the eighteenth century?

Although marked as obsolete in the O.E.D. (1928), this oldest meaning for the word leisure is attested as late as 1640:


a. Freedom or opportunity to do something specified or implied

b. opportunity

The etymology of the word leisure traces it back to "license," permission to do something. In the context of a mine, it would mean permission to extract the ore.

Later, the connotation of the term changed to "take it easy," or permission to not do anything.The source opines that it may have developed in tandem with, or along the lines of, "pleasure," including becoming a rhyme (in British English).


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