early 15c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French parent "father, parent, relative, kin" (11c.), from Latin parentem (nominative parens) "father or mother, ancestor," noun use of present participle of parire "bring forth, give birth to, produce," from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, bring forth." Began to replace native elder after c. 1500.