c. 1400, "to die," from Old French expirer "expire, elapse" (12c.), from Latin expirare/exspirare "breathe out, blow out, exhale; breathe one's last, die," hence, figuratively, "expire, come to an end, cease," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)). "Die" is the older sense in English; that of "breathe out" is first attested 1580s. Of laws, patents, treaties, etc., mid-15c. In 17c. also transitive. Related: Expired; expiring.