early 12c., Nativite, "feast-day celebrating the birth of Christ, Christmas," from Old French nativité "birth, origin, descent; birthday; Christmas" (12c.), from Late Latin nativitatem (nominative nativitas) "birth," from Latin nativus "born, native" (see native (adj.)). Late Old English had nativiteð, from earlier Old French nativited. From late 14c. as "fact of being born; circumstances attending one's birth."