1530s, a kind of document in Scottish law, from French signature (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin signatura "signature, a rescript," in classical Latin "the matrix of a seal," from signatus, past participle of signare "to mark with a stamp, sign" (see sign (v.)).
Meaning "one's own name written in one's own hand" is from 1570s, replacing sign-manual (early 15c.) in this sense. Musical sense of "signs placed it the beginning of a staff to indicate the key and rhythm" is from 1806. Meaning "a distinguishing mark of any kind" is from 1620s.
"pointed tool for punching or piercing" used by masons, also "die for coining or seal-making," late 14c., from Old French ponchon, poinchon "pointed tool, piercing weapon," from Vulgar Latin *punctionem (nominative *punctio) "pointed tool," from past-participle stem of Latin pungere "to prick, pierce, sting" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick"). Punch (n.1) is a shortened form of it. The meaning "stamp, die" is from c. 1500, a specialized use.
also trade-mark, 1838 (the thing itself attested continuously from 14c., apparently originally the watermarks on paper), from trade (n.) + mark (n.1) in a specialized sense of "stamp, seal, brand, etc. placed upon an article top indicate ownership or origin" (mid-13c.). Figurative use by 1869. As a verb, from 1904. Related: Trademarked; trademarking. This sense of mark also yielded the meaning "particular brand or make of an article" (1660s), hence its use in 20c. names of cars, etc., Mark I, Mark II, etc.
The motto is often translated as "He (God) is favorable to our undertakings," but this is not the only possible translation. Thomson wrote: "The pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause." The original design (by William Barton) showed the pyramid and the motto Deo Favente Perennis "God favoring through the years."
The Latin elements are the perfective of annuere "indicate approval, agree to, grant," literally "nod to (as a sign)" (from assimilated form of ad "to;" see ad-, + nuere "to nod;" see numinous) + perfect passive of coeptus, past participle of coepere "to begin, commence."
c. 1300 (mid-12c. as a surname), "dough for the making of bread or pastry," from Old French paste "dough, pastry" (13c., Modern French pâte), from Late Latin pasta "dough, pastry cake, paste" (see pasta). Meaning "glue mixture, dough used as a plaster seal" is attested from c. 1400; broader sense of "a composition just moist enough to be soft without liquefying" is by c. 1600. In reference to a kind of heavy glass made of ground quartz, etc., often used to imitate gems, by 1660s.
"papal edict, highest authoritative document issued by or in the name of a pope," c. 1300, from Medieval Latin bulla "sealed document" (source of Old French bulle, Italian bulla), originally the word for the seal itself, from Latin bulla "round swelling, knob," said ultimately to be from Gaulish, from PIE *beu-, a root supposed to have formed a large group of words meaning "much, great, many," also words associated with swelling, bumps, and blisters (source also of Lithuanian bulė "buttocks," Middle Dutch puyl "bag," also possibly Latin bucca "cheek").
"person who prints books, etc.; one who understands and carries on the business of typographical printing," c. 1500, agent noun from print (v.). Earlier as "a signet or seal" (early 15c.). As a mechanical device that prints, presses, or stamps by impression, from 1859, originally in telegraphy. In the computer sense, from 1946. The Printer's bible (c. 1702) was so called from the erroneous substitution of printers for princes in Psalms cxix.161, which led to the memorable misreading:
Printers have persecuted me without a cause.
late 14c., "indicate with the finger;" c. 1400, "wound by stabbing; make pauses in reading a text; seal or fill openings or joints or between tiles," partly from Old French pointoier "to prick, stab, jab, mark," and also from point (n.).
From mid-15c. as "to stitch, mend." From late 15c. as "furnish (a garment) with tags or laces for fastening;" from late 15c. as "aim (something), direct toward an object." Related: Pointed; pointing. To point up "emphasize" is from 1934; to point out "indicate, show, make manifest" is from 1570s.