When the word diva was first used in 1883, and for a hundred years after that, the sole definition was "a distinguished female singer", but in the late 1980s a new definition of "demanding, narcissistic celebrity" arose, because of association with the former (after that usage of the word tripled in literature). The word comes from Italian, where it meant "fine lady" but, earlier on, it had a definition of "goddess". This traces to Latin divus, meaning "divine one", which, through Old Latin deiuos and Proto-Italic deiwos, finally derives from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction deywos ("god"). There are a lot of cognates lurking around: deywos is also an element in words as diverse as divine, journey, Tuesday, meridian, circadian, Zeus, Jupiter, and dismal, just to name a few.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.