"utterance, recitation, action of the verb 'say,' " c. 1300, verbal noun from say (v.); meaning "something that has been said" (usually by someone thought important) is from c. 1300; sense of "a proverbial expression, an adage" is attested from mid-15c.
Phrase it goes without saying is attested from 1862 in a French context, used in English and American newspapers from c. 1868 and much complained of at first as without obvious sense.
Ça va sans dire, a familiar French locution, whose English equivalent might be "that is a matter of course," or "that may be taken for granted." But recently it has become the tendency to translate it literally, "that goes without saying," and these words, though originally uncouth and almost unmeaning to the unpractised ear, are gradually acquiring the exact meaning of the French. [Walsh, 1892]
[proverb, saying, maxim], Middle English saue, at first in a general sense, "what is said, talk, words," from Old English sagu "saying, discourse, speech, study, tradition, tale," from Proto-Germanic *saga-, *sagon- (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch sage, zage, German Sage "legend, fable, saga, myth, tradition," Old Norse saga "story, tale, saga"), from PIE root *sek(w)- "to say, utter" (see say (v.)).
The surviving specific sense of "proverb, saying, maxim" is by late 13c. "[A] contemptuous term for an expression that is more common than wise" [Century Dictionary].
1590s, "to practice dictation, say aloud for another to write down," from Latin dictatus, past participle of dictare "say often, prescribe," frequentative of dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Sense of "to command, declare, or prescribe with authority" is 1620s, as is the meaning "be the determining cause or motive of." Related: Dictated; dictates; dictating.
of speech communication, "used to establish social relationships rather than to impart information," 1923, coined by Polish-born British anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski (1884-1942) from Greek phatos "spoken, that may be spoken" (from phanai "to speak, say," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say") + -ic.
"to say, say as follows," from Middle English quoth, from Old English cweþ (Mercian), cwæþ (Northumbrian), third person singular past tense of cweoþan, cweoþa "to say, speak; name, call; declare, proclaim" (Middle English quethan), from Proto-Germanic *kwethanan (source also of Old Saxon quethan, Old Norse kveða, Old Frisian quetha, Old High German quedan, Gothic qiþan).
This is often traced to PIE root *gwet- "to say, speak," but Boutkan, on the grounds of formal objection to proposed cognates (Sanskrit gadati "speaks," Old Welsh guetid "say," Latin vetare "not allow"), has it as of "no (certain) IE etymology," and writes, "This is complicated."
Related to bequeath and bequest. Compare also archaic interjection quotha "forsooth, indeed," originally "said he," 1510s in sarcastic use, "originally a parenthetical phrase used in repeating the words of another with more or less contempt or disdain" [Century Dictionary], from Middle English, from Old English cwæðe ge.