Because peaceful behavior can result from calm or happy emotional states, people are sometimes understood to "feel peaceful." De-escalating conflicts therefore can involve reducing or improving emotions through compliments and generosity. Small gestures of generosity that are reciprocated are sometimes followed with even more gestures. Benevolent generosity can eventually become a pattern that is a lasting basis for improved relations. Peace talks often start without preconditions and preconceived notions because they are more than just negotiating opportunities. They place attention on peace in a way that itself is influential. Peace talks are sometimes also uniquely important learning opportunities.
The term-'peace' originates most recently from the Anglo-French pes, and the Old French pais, meaning "peace, reconciliation, silence, agreement" (11th century). But, Pes itself comes from the Latin pax, meaning "peace, compact, agreement, treaty of peace, tranquility, absence of hostility, harmony." The English word came into use in various personal greetings from c.1300 as a translation of the Hebrew word shalom, which, according to Jewish theology, comes from a Hebrew verb meaning 'to be complete, whole'. Although 'peace' is the usual translation, however, it is an incomplete one, because 'shalom,' which is also cognate with the Arabic salaam, has multiple other meanings in addition to peace, including justice, good health, safety, well-being, prosperity, equity, security, good fortune, and friendliness. At a personal level, peaceful behaviors are kind, considerate, respectful, just, and tolerant of others' beliefs and behaviors tending to manifest goodwill.
This latter understanding of peace can also pertain to an individual's introspective sense or concept of her/himself, as in being "at peace" in one's own mind, as found in European references from c.1200. The early English term is also used in the sense of "quiet", reflecting calm, serene, and meditative approaches to family or group relationships that avoid quarreling and seek tranquility an absence of disturbance or agitation.
In many languages, the word for peace is also used as a greeting or a farewell, for example the Hawaiian word aloha, as well as the Arabic word salaam. In English the word peace is occasionally used as a farewell, especially for the dead, as in the phrase rest in peace.
Wolfgang Dietrich in his research project which led to the book The Palgrave International Handbook of Peace Studies (2011) maps the different meanings of peace in different languages and from different regions across the world. Later, in his Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture (2012), he groups the different meanings of peace into five peace families: Energetic/Harmony, Moral/Justice, Modern/Security, Postmodern/Truth, and Transrational, a synthesis of the positive sides of the four previous families and the society.