1610s, "relating to the land," from French agrarienne, from Latin agrarius "of the land," from ager (genitive agri) "a field" (from PIE root *agro- "field").
The specialized meaning "having to do with cultivated land" is recorded by 1792. Originally, and often subsequently, "pertaining to the division or sharing of landed property," which was the Roman sense. Earlier in English as agrarie (1530s), from Latin agraria. As a noun, by 1650s ("Oceana") as "an agrarian law;" by 1818 as "one in favor of redistribution of landed property."
updated on October 30, 2022