late 14c., defloracioun, "culling of the finest passages from books," from Old French desfloracion (14c.) and directly from Latin deflorationem (nominative defloratio) "plucking of flowers," also "taking of (a woman's) virginity," noun of action from past-participle stem of deflorare (see deflower). Compare also anthology. As "act of depriving (a woman) of virginity" is from early 15c.
updated on July 11, 2018