Etymology
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satisfaction (n.)

early 14c., satisfaccioun, "performance by a penitent of an act set forth by a priest or other Church authority to atone for sin," from Old French satisfaction (12c.), from Latin satisfactionem (nominative satisfactio) "a satisfying of a creditor," noun of action from past-participle stem of satisfacere "discharge fully, comply with, make amends," literally "to do enough" (see satisfy).

Originally religious and involving such acts as expiatory prayer, self-denial, charity. The sense of "contentment, appeasement" is from late 14c. but was not common before 16c. The sense of "action of gratifying" (an appetite or desire) also is from late 14c.; that of "gratified or contented feeling or state of mind" is from late 15c. (Caxton).

From 1580s as "information that answers a person's demands or removes doubt." Hence the specific sense "opportunity of satisfying one's honor by accepting a duel, etc., with the aggrieved person" (c. 1600).

updated on December 29, 2021

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