1520s, "to give or grant in common with others," from Latin contributus, past participle of contribuere "to bring together, add, unite, collect, contribute" from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tribuere "to allot, pay" (see tribute). Figurative sense is from 1630s. Related: Contributed; contributing.
also contributer, mid-15c., contributour, "one who pays a tax or assessment," from Anglo-French contributour, from Vulgar Latin *contributorem, agent noun from contribut-, stem of contribuere (see contribute). Meaning "one who gives or grants in common with others" is from 1520s. Related: Contributory (early 15c.).
c. 1400, "to lead, conduct" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin conducere "to lead or bring together, contribute, serve," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + ducere "to lead" (from PIE root *deuk- "to lead"). Intransitive sense of "aid in or contribute toward a result" is from 1580s.
"to give, present as a gift, contribute," 1819, a back-formation from donation. OED and Century Dictionary mark it as (chiefly) U.S. Related: Donated; donating.
"to guide a ship, give orders for the steering of a ship," 1620s, from French conduire "to conduct, lead, guide" (10c.), from Latin conducere "to lead or bring together, contribute, serve," from com "with, together" (see com-) + ducere "to lead" (from PIE root *deuk- "to lead"). As a noun, "action or post of steering a ship," 1825. Related: Conned; conning. Conning tower "dome-shaped pilot house of an ironclad warship or submarine" is attested from 1865.
late 14c., redounden, "to overflow, flow abundantly; abound, multiply, increase" (senses now obsolete), also "to flow or go back" (to a place or person), "be sent, rolled, or driven back," from Old French redonder "overflow, abound, be in profusion" (12c.), from Latin redundare "to overflow" (see redundant). Hence "to contribute, have effect" (to the credit, honor, etc.), early 15c. Related: Redounded; redounding.
1864, in anthropology, "the doctrine that the human race is not one but consists of many distinct species" (opposed to monogeny or monogenism), from Late Greek polygenēs "of many kinds," from polys "many" (see poly-) + -genēs "born" (from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget"). By c. 1970 the same word was used in a different sense, in reference to the theory that multiple genes contribute to the form or variant of some particular trait of an organism. Another word for the anthropological theory was polygenism (1857).
also V.I.P., 1933, initialism (acronym) for very important person or personage; not common until after World War II.
At most, the greatest persons, are but great wens, and excrescences; men of wit and delightfull conversation, but as moales for ornament, except they be so incorporated into the body of the world, that they contribute something to the sustentation of the whole. [John Donne, letter to Sir Henry Goodere, Sept. 1608]
late 14c., contribucioun, "a levy imposed by a body politic upon a district or population" (for example to pay for military defense in a border region), from Old French contribution "payment" and directly from Late Latin contributionem (nominative contributio) "a dividing, a distributing, a contribution," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin contribuere "to bring together, add, contribute," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tribuere "to allot, pay" (see tribute).
Meaning "the act of giving in common with others" is from mid-15c. Sense of "that which is given toward a common end" is from c. 1600. Sense of "a writing for a magazine or journal" is from 1714.