late 14c., contribucioun, "a levy imposed by a body politic upon a district or population" (for example to pay for military defense in a border region), from Old French contribution "payment" and directly from Late Latin contributionem (nominative contributio) "a dividing, a distributing, a contribution," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin contribuere "to bring together, add, contribute," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tribuere "to allot, pay" (see tribute).
Meaning "the act of giving in common with others" is from mid-15c. Sense of "that which is given toward a common end" is from c. 1600. Sense of "a writing for a magazine or journal" is from 1714.
updated on March 18, 2018