conscription (n.)

late 14c., "a putting in writing, a written record," from Latin conscriptionem (nominative conscriptio) "a drawing up of a list, enrollment, a levying of soldiers," noun of action from past-participle stem of conscribere "to enroll," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut").

Meaning "enlistment (of soldiers)" is from 1520s; the sense "compulsory enrollment by lot or selection of suitable men for military or naval service" (1800) is traceable to the French Republic act of Sept. 5, 1798. Technically, a conscription is the enrollment of a fixed number by lot, with options of providing a substitute.

updated on March 05, 2018