1620s, "bedridden person, one confined to his bed by sickness," from French clinique (17c.), from Latin clinicus "physician that visits patients in their beds," from Greek klinike (techne) "(practice) at the sickbed," from klinikos "of the bed," from kline "bed, couch, that on which one lies," from suffixed form of PIE root *klei- "to lean."
Also "one who defers baptism until the death-bed" (1660s). Sense of "private hospital" is from 1884, from German Klinik in this sense, itself from French clinique, via the notion of "bedside medical education, examination of a patient by an instructor in the presence of students." The modern sense thus reverses the classical one, in which the "clinic" came to the patient. General sense of "conference for group instruction in something" is from 1919.
updated on December 29, 2017