1610s, "small piece of paper with writing on it, a written slip," apparently a corruption of script (n.). In the commercial use, "a certificate of a right to receive something" (especially a stock share), 1762, in this sense probably shortened from (sub)scrip(tion) receipt (see subscription). Originally "receipt for a portion of a loan subscribed;" the meaning "certificate issued as currency" is recorded by 1790. In U.S. history, "fractional paper money" (by 1889).
updated on March 03, 2022