Old English wið "against, opposite, from, toward, by, near," a shortened form related to wiðer, from Proto-Germanic *withro- "against" (source also of Old Saxon withar "against," Old Norse viðr "against, with, toward, at," Middle Dutch, Dutch weder, Dutch weer "again," Gothic wiþra "against, opposite"), from PIE *wi-tero-, literally "more apart," suffixed form of *wi- "separation" (source also of Sanskrit vi "apart," Avestan vi- "asunder," Sanskrit vitaram "further, farther," Old Church Slavonic vutoru "other, second"). Compare widow (n.).
Sense shifted in Middle English to denote association, combination, and union, partly by influence of Old Norse vidh, and also perhaps by Latin cum "with" (as in pugnare cum "fight with"). In this sense, it replaced Old English mid "with," which survives only as a prefix (as in midwife). Original sense of "against, in opposition" is retained in compounds such as withhold, withdraw, withstand.
Often treated as a conjunction by ungrammatical writers and used where and would be correct. First record of with child "pregnant" is recorded from c. 1200. With it "cool" is African-American vernacular, recorded by 1931. French avec "with" was originally avoc, from Vulgar Latin *abhoc, from apud hoc, literally "with this."
1520s, "a holding off, refusal to do something," from French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). As "a refraining from voting" by 1859.
early 15c. (implied in deteined), "keep back or away, withhold," from Old French detenir "to hold off, keep back" (12c.), from Latin detinere "hold off, keep back," from de "from, away" (see de-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch."
Legal sense of "to hold in custody" is from late 15c. (late 13c. in Anglo-French). Meaning "keep or restrain from proceeding" is from 1590s. Modern spelling is 17c., from influence of contain, retain, etc. Related: Detained; detaining.
mid-14c., "keep back or in store for future use;" late 14c., "keep as one's own," from Old French reserver "set aside, withhold" (12c.) and directly from Latin reservare "keep back, save up; retain, preserve," from re- "back" (see re-) + servare "to keep, save, preserve, protect" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect"). Meaning "to book" is from 1935. Related: Reserved; reserving.