mid-14c., "upright piece of furniture providing protection from heat of a fire, drafts, etc.," probably from a shortened (Anglo-French? compare Anglo-Latin screna) variant of Old North French escren, Old French escran "fire-screen" (early 14c.), perhaps from Middle Dutch scherm "screen, cover, shield," or Frankish *skrank "barrier," from Proto-Germanic *skerm- (source also of Old High German skirm, skerm "protection," from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."
Meaning "net-wire frame used in windows and doors" is recorded from 1859. Meaning "flat vertical surface for reception of projected images" is from 1810, originally in reference to magic lantern shows; later of movies. Transferred sense of "cinema world collectively" is attested from 1914; hence screen test (1918), etc. Screen saver first attested 1990. Screen printing recorded from 1918.
"to shield from punishment, to conceal," late 15c., from screen (n.). Meaning "examine systematically for suitability" is from 1943; sense of "to release a movie" is from 1915. Related: Screened; screening.