1530s, a kind of document in Scottish law, from French signature (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin signatura "signature, a rescript," in classical Latin "the matrix of a seal," from signatus, past participle of signare "to mark with a stamp, sign" (see sign (v.)).
Meaning "one's own name written in one's own hand" is from 1570s, replacing sign-manual (early 15c.) in this sense. Musical sense of "signs placed it the beginning of a staff to indicate the key and rhythm" is from 1806. Meaning "a distinguishing mark of any kind" is from 1620s.
"figure formed by a flourish of a pen at the conclusion of a signature" (a precaution against forgers), 1580s, from French parafe, paraphe "a paragraph, signature, a flourish," a shortened form of paragraph.
c. 1400, subscripcioun, "piece of writing at the end of a document," from Anglo-French subscripcion, Old French subscription (Modern French souscription) and directly from Latin subscriptionem (nominative subscriptio) "anything written underneath, a signature," noun of action from past-participle stem of subscribere (see subscribe). Meaning "act of subscribing money" is from 1640s.