c. 1500, fabricacioun, "manufacturing, construction," from Latin fabricationem (nominative fabricatio) "a structure, construction, a making," noun of action from past-participle stem of fabricare "to make, construct" (see fabricate). Meaning "lying, falsehood, forgery" is from 1790.
1712, "form, shape" (a sense now obsolete), a more classical form of earlier plasm; from Late Latin plasma, from Greek plasma "something molded or created," hence "image, figure; counterfeit, forgery; formed style, affectation," from plassein "to mold," originally "to spread thin," from PIE *plath-yein, from root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread."
Sense of "the liquid part of blood, etc., as distinguished from the corpuscles" is from 1845. In physics, the sense of "ionized gas" is by 1928.
"pertaining to or resembling the works of the legendary 3c. Gaelic bard Ossian," 1786, from Ossian, an Anglicization of Oisin, a name meaning literally "little fawn." James Macpherson claimed to have collected and translated his works (1760-1763) under the name Ossian, and the success of his poetic prose sparked a Celtic revival and fascination with the glamour of the lost world of the bards. The works ("Fingal" and others) turned out to be largely Macpherson's forgery, and the style later was regarded as bombastic, but the resulting swerve in European literature was real. Related: Ossianesque.
mid-15c., prothogol, "prologue;" 1540s, prothogall, "draft of a document, minutes of a transaction or negotiation, original of any writing" (senses now obsolete), from French prothocole (c. 1200, Modern French protocole), from Medieval Latin protocollum "draft," literally "the first sheet of a volume" (on which contents and errata were written), from Greek prōtokollon "first sheet glued onto a manuscript," from prōtos "first" (see proto-) + kolla "glue," a word of uncertain origin.
The sense developed in Medieval Latin and French from "rough draft; original copy of a treaty, etc." to "official record of a transaction," to "diplomatic document" (especially one signed by friendly powers to secure certain ends by peaceful means), and finally, in French, to "formula of diplomatic etiquette." That final sense is attested in English by 1896.
The general sense of "conventional proper conduct" is recorded from 1952. "Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion," Russian anti-Semitic forgery purporting to reveal Jewish plan for world domination, first was published in English 1920 under title "The Jewish Peril."
c. 1300, in chess, "a call noting one's move has placed his opponent's king (or another major piece) in immediate peril," from Old French eschequier "a check at chess" (also "chess board, chess set"), from eschec "the game of chess; chessboard; check; checkmate," from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic shah, from Persian shah "king," the principal piece in a chess game (see shah; also compare checkmate (n.)). Also c. 1300 in a generalized sense, "harmful incident or event, hostile environment."
As "an exposure of the king to a direct attack from an opposing piece" early 15c. When his king is in check, a player's choices are severely limited. From that notion come the many extended senses: From the notion of "a sudden stoppage, hindrance, restraint" (1510s) comes that of "act or means of checking or restraining," also "means of detecting or exposing or preventing error; a check against forgery or alteration."
Hence: "a counter-register as a token of ownership used to check against, and prevent, loss or theft" (as in hat check, etc.), 1812. Hence also the financial use for "written order for money drawn on a bank, money draft" (1798, often spelled cheque), which was probably influenced by exchequer. Hence also "mark put against names or items on a list indicating they have been verified or otherwise examined" (by 1856).
From its use in chess the word has been widely transferred in French and English. In the sense-extension, the sb. and vb. have acted and reacted on each other, so that it is difficult to trace and exhibit the order in which special senses arose [OED]
The meaning "restaurant bill" is from 1869. Checking account is attested from 1897, American English. Blank check in the figurative sense is attested by 1849 (compare carte blanche). Checks and balances is from 1782, perhaps originally suggesting machinery.