[payment for use of property], mid-12c., in a legal sense, "compensation made periodically, with reference to time of possession and use of property," from Old French rente "payment due; profit, income" and Medieval Latin renta, both from Vulgar Latin *rendita, noun use of fem. past participle of *rendere "to render" (see render (v.)).
It came into English earlier in a more general, and now obsolete, sense of "income, revenue" (late Old English). The sense in political economy, "what is left from the produce of the soil after deducting what is necessary to support the producers, interest, seed-corn, etc.," is by 1815. Rent-free is attested from 1630s.
Rents (to think how much of evil there is in the two senses of that four-lettered word ! In the two methods of intonation of its synonym, Tear !) [Ruskin, "Fors Claveriga"]
"torn place, opening made by rending or tearing," 1530s, noun use of Middle English renten "to tear, rend" (early 14c.), a variant of renden (see rend (v.)). Of clefts or fissures in the earth by 1702.
mid-15c., renten, "to rent out property, grant possession and enjoyment of in exchange for a consideration paid in the nature of rent," from Old French renter "pay dues to," or from rent (n.1). Related: Rented; renting.
Earlier (mid-14c.) it was used in the more general sense of "provide with revenue, endow with income." The sense of "to take and hold in exchange for rent" is from 1520s. The intransitive sense of "be leased for rent" is from 1784.
Prefix rent-a- is attested by 1921, mainly of businesses that rented various makes of car (Rentacar is a trademark registered in U.S. 1924); extended to other "temporary" uses since 1961.
"extortionate rent, rent raised to the highest possible limit, rent greater than any tenant can be expected to pay," especially of land-rents in Ireland, c. 1600, from rent (n.) + rack (v.1) in the otherwise obsolete sense of "extort or obtain by rapacity, raise (rent, etc.) above a fair level" (1550s).
"one who has a fixed income from investment" (in land, stocks, etc.), 1847, from French rentier, "holder of rental properties or investments that pay income," from rente "profit, income" (see rent (n.1), the old, broader sense of which survives in this).
late 14c., "rent roll, schedule or account of rents;" also "income from rents," from Anglo-French rental and Medieval Latin rentale; see rent (n.1) + -al (2). Meaning "amount charged for rent, gross amount of rents drawn from an estate" is from 1630s. In reference to a car or house let for rent, by 1952, American English. As an adjective by 1510s.
late 14c. (late 13c. as a surname), "one who lets or rents to others, proprietor; one who collects rent," agent noun from rent (v.). Also in Middle English "dwelling place for which rent is paid" (early 15c.). Meaning "lessee, tenant, holder of property by payment of rent" is from 1650s. In early use this was often in reference to estates; later it was more commonly of tenement or apartment lessees.
late 14c., rendren, rendre, "repeat, say again, recite; translate," from Old French rendre "give back, present, yield" (10c.) and Medieval Latin rendere, from Vulgar Latin *rendere, a variant of Latin reddere "give back, return, restore," from red- "back" (see re-) + combining form of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give").
The alteration in Vulgar Latin was perhaps simply nasalization or perhaps on analogy of its antonym, prendre "to take" (itself a contraction of prehendere). The irregular retention of -er in a French verb in English is perhaps to avoid confusion with native rend (v.) or by influence of a Middle English legalese noun render "a payment of rent," which is in part from French noun use of the infinitive.
The sense of "reduce," in reference to fats, "clarify by boiling or steaming" also is from late 14c. The meaning "hand over, yield up, deliver" is recorded from c. 1400; sense of "to return" (thanks, a verdict, etc.) is attested from late 15c., as is that of "make or cause to be) in a certain state; the meaning "represent, depict" is attested from 1590s. Related: Rendered; renderer; rendering. Also compare rendition, rent (n.1).
*dō-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to give."
It forms all or part of: add; anecdote; antidote; betray; condone; dacha; dado; data; date (n.1) "time;" dative; deodand; die (n.); donation; donative; donor; Dorian; Dorothy; dose; dowager; dower; dowry; edition; endow; Eudora; fedora; Isidore; mandate; Pandora; pardon; perdition; Polydorus; render; rent (n.1) "payment for use of property;" sacerdotal; samizdat; surrender; Theodore; Theodosia; tradition; traitor; treason; vend.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dadati "gives," danam "offering, present;" Old Persian dadatuv "let him give;" Greek didomi, didonai, "to give, offer," dōron "gift;" Latin dare "to give, grant, offer," donum "gift;" Armenian tam "to give;" Old Church Slavonic dati "give," dani "tribute;" Lithuanian duoti "to give," duonis "gift;" Old Irish dan "gift, endowment, talent," Welsh dawn "gift."