culture as 'worship in Caxton (1483)). The French forms of cultura were couture, OF, which has since developed its own specialized meaning, and later culture, which by eC15 had passed into English. The primary meaning was then in husbandry, the tending of natural growth.
Culture in all its early uses was a noun of process: the tending of something, basically crops or animals. The subsidiary coulter -- ploughshare, had travelled by a different linguistic route, from culter, L -- ploughshare, culter, OE, to the variant English spellings culter, colter, coulter and as late as eCl7 culture (Webster, Duchess of Malfi, III, ii: 'hot burning cultures). This provided a further basis for the important next stage of meaning, by metaphor. From eCl6 the tending of natural growth was extended to process of human development, and this, alongside the original meaning in husbandry, was the main sense until lC18 and eC19. Thus More: 'to the culture and profit of their minds; Bacon: 'the culture and manurance of minds (1605); Hobbes: 'a culture of their minds (1651);Johnson: 'she neglected the culture of her understanding (1759). At various points in this development two crucial changes occurred: first, a degree of habituation to the metaphor, which made the sense of human tending direct; second, an extension of particular processes to a general process, which the word could abstractly carry. It is of course from the latter development that the independent noun culture began its complicated modern history, but the process of change is so intricate, and the latencies of meaning are at times so close, that it is not possible to give any definite date. Culture as an independent noun, an abstract process or the product of such a process, is not important before 1C18 and is not common before mCl9. But the early stages of this development were not sudden. There is an interesting use in Milton, in the second (revised) edition of The Readie and Easie Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660): 'spread much more Knowledg and Civility, yea, Religion, through all parts of the Land, by communicating the natural heat of Government and Culture more distributively to all extreme parts, which now lie num and neglected. Here the metaphorical sense ('natural heat) still appears to be present, and civility (cf. CIVILIZATION)is still written where in C19 we would normally expect culture. Yet we can also read 'government and culture in a quite modern sense. Milton, from the tenor of his whole argument, is writing about a general social process, and this is a definite stage of development. In C15 England this general process acquired definite class associations though