c. 1400, "costiveness, bowel condition in which evacuations are obstructed or difficult" (more fully, constipacioun of þe wombe), from Late Latin constipationem (nominative constipatio), noun of state from past-participle stem of Latin constipare "to press or crowd together," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see con-) + stipare "to cram, pack" (see stiff (adj.)).
"constipated, suffering from retention of hard fecal matter in the bowels," c. 1400, from Old French costivé, from Latin constipatus, past participle of constipare (see constipation). Figurative sense of "slow in action" is attested from 1590s. Related: Costively; costiveness.
1530s, "to fill or cram the intestinal canal with fecal matter," in part a back-formation from constipation, in part from Latin constipatus, past participle of constipare"to press or crowd closely together." An earlier verb in this sense was constipen (late 14c.). General sense of "crowd or cram into a narrow compass" is from 1540s in English, Related: Constipated; constipating.
"action of blocking or stopping up," especially, in medicine, "constipation," 1590s, from Latin obstipationem (nominative obstipatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of *obstipare "action of blocking or stopping up," from ob "in front of; in the way of" (see ob-) + stipare "to press together, to pack" (see stiff (adj.)).