"an understanding," 1854, from French éntente "an understanding," from Old French entente "intent, intention; attention; aim, goal" (12c.), noun use of fem. past participle of entendre "to direct one's attention" (see intent). Political sense arose in 19c. from entente cordiale (1844); the best-known example was that between England and France (1904), to which Russia was added in 1908.