c. 1300, prente, "impression, mark made by impression upon a surface" (as by a stamp or seal), from Old French preinte "impression," noun use of fem. past participle of preindre "to press, crush," altered from prembre, from Latin premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). The Old French word also was borrowed into Middle Dutch (prente, Dutch prent) and other Germanic languages.
Sense of "a printed publication" (later especially a newspaper) is from 1560s. The meaning "printed lettering" is from 1620s; print-hand "print-like handwriting" is from 1650s. The sense of "picture or design from a block or plate" is attested from 1660s. Meaning "piece of printed cloth or fabric" is from 1756. The photographic sense is by 1853.
In Middle English, stigmata were called precious prentes of crist; to perceiven the print of sight was "to feel (someone's) gaze." Out of print "no longer to be had from the publisher" is from 1670s (to be in print "in printed form" is recorded from late 15c.). Print journalism attested from 1962, as distinguished from the television variety.
mid-14c., prenten "to make an impression, press upon or into" (as with a seal, stamp, etc.), from print (n.). Meaning "to set a mark on any surface" (including by writing) is attested from late 14c. Meaning "to run off on a press, make a copy or copies of by impression" is recorded from 1510s (Caxton, 1474, used enprynte in this sense).
In reference to textiles, 1580s. The photography sense of "produce a positive image from a negative" is recorded from 1851 (the noun in this sense is from 1853). Meaning "to write in imitation of typography" is from 1801.
He always prints, I know, 'cos he learnt writin' from the large bills in the bookin' offices. [Dickens, "Pickwick Papers," 1837]
The meaning "to record (someone's) fingerprints" is from 1952. Related: Printed; printing.
updated on November 10, 2020