Etymology uncertain. Occurs in print at least as early as 1831, when Samuel Lover used the expression as one already long-established. He unambiguously stated the derivation of cess in the malediction bad cess to be an abbreviation of success.. OED speculated that it either was from success or from assessment meaning a military or governmental exaction.
cess (plural cesses)
- (Britain, Ireland) An assessed tax, duty, or levy.
- 2006, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Georg Thieme Verlag, page 76:
- Therefore it was proposed to levy a cess on local authorities which are entrusted with the duty of supplying water under the law by or under which they are constituted and on certain specified industries.
- (Britain, Ireland, informal) Usually preceded by good or (more commonly) bad: luck or success.
- 1852 November, O’Hara Family, “Clough Fionn; or, The Stone of Destiny”, in The Dublin University Magazine, a Literary and Political Journal, volume XL, number CCXXXIX, Dublin: James McGlashan, […]; London: W[illia]m S[omerville] Orr and Company, OCLC 841086102, chapter XI, page 557:
- "Bad cess may attend you, where are you scampering to, you rambunctious"—but she could go no farther; the tears burst from her, and she gave way, without farther resistance, to an explosion of grief.
- 1962, News for Farmer Cooperatives, Information Office, Farm Credit Administration:
- Midland has had good cess with using minute commercials eight television stations, cited as one example of modernizing its advertising.
- 1965, Canada Month:
- It is good cess to feel the warmth and sincerity of this couple who fill the role of the Queen's representative in Canada.
- (obsolete) Bound; measure.
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
- The poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.
Possibly from an archaic dialect word meaning “bog”.
cess (plural cesses)
- (rail transport) The area along either side of a railroad track which is kept at a lower level than the sleeper bottom, in order to provide drainage.
- (obsolete, dialect) A bog, in particular a peat bog.
- (obsolete, dialect) A piece of peat, or a turf, particularly when dried for use as fuel.
- Cess (alternative capitalization)
- cess-dur m
|Declension of cess|