1540s, "to do, execute, perform," from Latin perpetratus, past participle of perpetrare "to perform, to accomplish," from per- "completely" + patrare "carry out," originally "bring into existence," from pater "father" (see father (n.)). Earlier in English was perpetren (mid-15c.), from Old French perpetrer, and perpetrate was an adjective meaning "committed" (late 15c.). Neither good nor bad in Latin, first used in English in statutes, hence its general bad sense of "to perform criminally." Related: Perpetrated; perpetrating.