c. 1200, "doctrine, authoritative teaching; an authoritative pronouncement," from Old French sentence "judgment, decision; meaning; aphorism, maxim; statement of authority" (12c.) and directly from Latin sententia "thought, way of thinking, opinion; judgment, decision," also "a thought expressed; aphorism, saying," an irregular (dissimilated) formation from sentientem, present participle of sentire "be of opinion, feel, perceive" (see sense (n.)). The meaning path is perhaps "way of perceiving in the mind" to "opinion" to "decision, judgment."
From early 14c. as "judgment rendered by God, or by one in authority;" also in the specific legal sense "a verdict, decision in a court." It is from late 14c. as "understanding, wisdom; edifying subject matter," a sense obsolete but frequent in Chaucer.
It is from late 14c. as "subject matter or content of a letter, book, speech, etc.," and also was used in reference to a passage in a written work. The sense of "grammatically complete statement in words" is attested from mid-15c. ("Meaning," then "meaning expressed in words.")
A sentence is a sound in itself on which other sounds called words may be strung. You may string words together without a sentence-sound to string them on just as you may tie clothes together by the sleeves and stretch them without a clothes line between two trees, but — it is bad for the clothes. [Robert Frost, letter to John T. Bartlett, Feb. 22, 1914]
c. 1400, sentencen, "to pass judgment," from sentence (n.) or from Old French sentenciir, from Medieval Latin sententiare "pronounce judgment upon," from Latin sententia. Specifically as "condemn" (to a punishment) is by 1590s. Related: Sentenced; sentencing.
late 15c., sentencial, "full of wisdom," of maxims, etc., from Latin sententialis, from sententia "thought; expression of a thought" (see sentence (n.)). By 1640s as "of or pertaining to a sentence." Related: Sententially.
mid-15c., sentencious, "full of meaning" (a sense now obsolete); late 15c., "full of pithy sentences or sayings;" from Latin sententiosus "full of meaning, pithy," from sententia "thought; expression of a thought" (see sentence (n.)). Meaning "addicted to pompous moralizing, given to the use of pithy sayings" is recorded from 1590s. Related: Sententiously; sententiousness.
late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.
c. 1200, "a sentence, a brief passage of a written composition," from Old French clause "stipulation" (in a legal document), 12c., from Medieval Latin clausa "conclusion," used in the sense of classical Latin clausula "the end, a closing, termination," also "end of a sentence or a legal argument," from clausa, fem. noun from past participle of claudere "to close, to shut, to conclude" (see close (v.)).
Grammatical sense "one of the lesser sentences which united form a complex or compound sentence" is from c. 1300. Legal meaning "distinct condition, stipulation, or proviso" is recorded from late 14c. in English. The sense of "ending" mostly faded from the word between Latin and French, but it is occasionally found in Middle English.
A clause differs from a phrase in containing both a subject and its predicate, while a phrase is a group of two or more words not containing both these essential elements of a simple sentence. [Century Dictionary]
"the act of interrogating," c. 1600, verbal noun from question (v.). Questioning pitch for "rising intonation of an interrogative sentence" is by 1906.
"initial letter of a name or surname," 1620s, from initial (adj.) in a specialized sense "standing at the beginning of a word, sentence, etc." (1620s).