mid-14c., "make publicly known, reveal, divulge, announce;" alteration of publicen (early 14c.) by influence of banish, finish, etc.; from extended stem of Old French publier "make public, spread abroad, communicate," from Latin publicare "make public," from publicus "public" (see public). Meaning "issue (a book, etc.) to the public" is from late 14c., also "to disgrace, put to shame; denounce publicly." Related: Published; publishing. In Middle English the verb also meant "to people, populate; to multiply, breed" (late 14c.), for example ben published of "be descended from."