late 14c., aministren, later administren, "to manage as a steward, control or regulate on behalf of others," from Old French aministrer "help, aid, be of service to" (12c., Modern French administrer), and directly from Latin administrare "to help, assist; manage, control, guide, superintend; rule, direct," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ministrare "to serve, attend, wait upon," from minister "inferior, servant, priest's assistant" (see minister (n.)).
The -d- was restored 14c.-16c. in French and after 15c. in English. In reference to punishment, justice, etc., "to dispense, bring into operation" (especially as an officer), from mid-15c. In reference to medicines, medical treatment, etc., "to give," from 1540s. Related: Administered; administering.