"book, paper, or other document written by hand with ink, pencil, etc.," as distinguished from anything printed, especially one written before the use of printing, c. 1600, earlier as an adjective, "written with the hand, handwritten, not printed" (1590s ), from Medieval Latin manuscriptum "document written by hand," from Latin manu scriptus "written by hand," from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + scriptus (neuter scriptum), past participle of scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). The abbreviation is MS, plural MSS. Related: Manuscriptal.
Meaning "handwriting" is recorded from 1860. Theatrical use, short for manuscript, is attested from 1884. The importance of Rome to the spread of civilization in Europe is attested by the fact that the word for "write" in Celtic and Germanic (as well as Romanic) languages derives from scribere (French écrire, Irish scriobhaim, Welsh ysgrifennu, German schreiben). The cognate Old English scrifan means "to allot, assign, decree" (see shrive; also compare Old Norse skript "penance") and Modern English uses write (v.) to express this action.
It forms all or part of: ascribe; ascription; circumscribe; conscript; conscription; describe; description; festschrift; inscribe; inscription; manuscript; postscript; prescribe; prescription; proscribe; sans-serif; scribble; scribe; script; scriptorium; scripture; scrivener; serif; shrift; shrive; subscribe; superscribe; superscript; transcribe; scarification; scarify.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek skariphasthai "to scratch an outline, sketch;" Latin scribere "to write" (to carve marks in wood, stone, clay, etc.); Lettish skripat "scratch, write;" Old Norse hrifa "scratch."
It forms all or part of: amanuensis; command; commando; commend; countermand; demand; Edmund; emancipate; legerdemain; maintain; manacle; manage; manciple; mandamus; mandate; manege; maneuver; manicure; manifest; manipulation; manner; manque; mansuetude; manual; manubrium; manufacture; manumission; manumit; manure; manuscript; mastiff; Maundy Thursday; mortmain; Raymond; recommend; remand; Sigismund.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust;" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over; armed force; handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand;" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian;" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage."
"manuscript volume (especially an ancient one)," 1845, from Latin codex "book" (see code (n.)). Related: Codical.
1580s, "a reduced image, anything represented on a greatly reduced scale," especially a painting of very small dimensions, from Italian miniatura "manuscript illumination or small picture," from past participle of miniare "to illuminate a manuscript," from Latin miniare "to paint red," from minium "red lead," used in ancient times to make red ink, a word said to be of Iberian origin. Sense development is because pictures in medieval manuscripts were small, but no doubt there was influence as well from the similar-sounding Latin words that express smallness: minor, minimus, minutus, etc.