mid-13c., "extension of time for an action, deliberation, etc., grace period; postponement of an action, judgment, etc.," from Old French respit "delay, respect" (Modern French répit), from Latin respectus "consideration, recourse, regard," literally "act of looking back (or often) at one," noun use of past participle of respicere "look back at, regard, consider," from re- "back" (see re-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe").
A doublet of respect (n.). From early 14c. as "a reprieve, temporary cessation of hostilities, suffering, etc."
early 14c., respiten, "reprieve from death;" late 14c., "refrain from action, desist; grant (someone) an extension of time," from Old French respitier, respiter, from Latin respicere "look back at, regard, consider" (see respite (n.)), or else from Latin respectare "consider, respect," in Medieval Latin "delay, postpone" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Respited; respiting.