late 14c., "act of presenting," from Old French presentacion (13c.), from Latin praesentationem (nominative praesentatio) "a placing before," noun of action from past participle stem of praesentare (see present (v.)). Meaning "that which is offered or presented" is mid-15c.; that of "a theatrical or other representation" is recorded from c. 1600. Related: Presentational.