1660s, "put together the parts of in their proper place and order," from Latin constructus, past participle of construere "pile up together, accumulate; build, make, erect," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + struere "to pile up" (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread"). Sense of "to devise and form in the mind" is from 1755. Related: Constructed; constructing.
1871 in linguistics, "group of words forming a phrase;" 1890 in psychology, "object in the mind formed by sense-impressions" (C.L. Morgan); 1933 in the general sense of "anything constructed;" from construct (v.) or a derived adjective, with altered pronunciation to distinguish noun from verb (as with produce, detail, project, compress, etc.).
updated on March 10, 2018