late 14c., presentacioun, "act of presenting, ceremonious giving of a gift, prize, etc.," from Old French presentacion (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin praesentationem (nominative praesentatio) "a placing before," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin praesentare "to present, show, exhibit," literally "to place before," from stem of praesens (see present (adj.)).
The meaning "that which is offered or presented" is from mid-15c.; that of "a theatrical or other representation" is recorded from c. 1600. Related: Presentational.