Origin of diplomatic
The Latin adjective is derived from diplōmat-, the inflectional stem of diplōma, which has several technical meanings: “an official letter of recommendation; a certificate or license granting a privilege; a folded tablet or paper carrying an official’s instructions to allow the bearer to have free passage and assistance.”
The journey from an adjective relating to the science of analyzing documents (which in English is known as diplomatics ) to one pertaining to the art of international relations ( diplomacy ) is a fascinating one. Díplōma is a derivative of the verb diploûn “to repeat, multiply by two, repay twofold.” Diploûn is a compound of the prefix di- “two, twice, double,” a variant of the adverb dís “twice.” The original Greek word díplōma from which the Latin diplōmaticus comes meant “a piece of paper folded in two,” and in Roman imperial times, “an order allowing the bearer to use the imperial transportation system; a passport.”
Diploma in English retains the sense of a piece of paper, one that we receive (often rolled, not folded) when we graduate, formally granting an academic degree. A less well-known sense of diploma is “a public or official document.” The earliest meanings of diplomatic in English referred first to the scientific analysis of these documents, then to the documents themselves, and, at a tempestuous historical moment, the word becomes forever associated with the activities surrounding the documents.
In the 18th century, French writer and historian Jean Dumont published Corps universel diplomatique du droit des gens, containing the original texts of the treaties of Alliance, of Peace, and of Commerce, from the Peace of Munster to 1709. This was a collection of documents as the title indicates, and the term corps diplomatique at first referred to the body of documents but over time underwent a meaning transfer to the subject matter of the documents themselves, international relations.
By 1789, we can find the term used in English but with the French spelling diplomatique. Edmund Burke, in his best-selling Reflections on the Revolution in France, popularizes the shift by using corps diplomatique in this novel way: “The Prussian ministers in foreign courts have … talked the most democratick language …. The whole corps diplomatique, with very few exceptions, leans that way.” Here, the term is applied to the ambassadors and officials making up the diplomatic body, that is, the group of ministers engaged in diplomacy and international relations (and not the body of documents collecting itself into piles to be examined). Soon after, the French spelling is dropped in favor of the Anglicized diplomatic, but the French connection remains.
Examples from the Web for diplomatically
He believed the more you aided Israel militarily, the more flexible they would be diplomatically.Some of Israel’s Top Defenders Say It’s Time to End U.S. Aid|Eli Lake|July 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
U.S. policy is going down the drain in Syria diplomatically and militarily.
The result, to put it diplomatically, has been chaotic and not a little alarming as a matter of law—and medical ethics.What Happens to the Death Penalty When Lethal Injection Isn’t Quick and Painless?|Andrew Cohen|January 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The Americans refuse to pay, saying the charge is a ‘tax’ from which they are diplomatically immune.London Parking Warden Tickets Hillary Clinton's Car|Tom Sykes|October 15, 2013|DAILY BEAST
It threatens us intellectually, ideologically, morally, psychologically, and diplomatically.What Beinart Overlooks in His 'American Jewish Cocoon' Article|Gil Troy|September 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
It was a chance to assist our propaganda, added the reporter, diplomatically.Sylvia's Marriage|Upton Sinclair
"Scholarius is a wise man," the Prince said, diplomatically.The Prince of India, Volume I|Lew. Wallace
He records only facts—never rumors—and these he glosses over or cloaks diplomatically.Lucretia Borgia|Ferdinand Gregorovius
She made a hurried movement, and Helmsley diplomatically closed his eyes.The Treasure of Heaven|Marie Corelli
“Let us consider the matter together,” he suggested, diplomatically.Mysterious Mr. Sabin|E. Phillips Oppenheim