c. 1300, "act of discovering" (by chance or after searching; also an instance of this); verbal noun from find (v.). From c. 1400 as "what the mind discovers; knowledge attained by human effort" (as distinct from revelation or authority). Late 14c. as "act of sustaining, supporting, or providing the necessities of life; that which is provided by way of sustenance and support." Legal sense "proceedings leading to a verdict in an inquisition, etc.," is from mid-15c. Old English finding meant "invention." Related: Findings.