Etymology
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script (n.)

late 14c., "something written, a written document," earlier scrite (c. 1300), from Anglo-French scrit, Old French escrit "piece of writing, written paper; credit note, IOU; deed, bond" (Modern French écrit) and directly from Latin scriptum "a writing, book; law; line, mark," noun use of neuter past participle of scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut, separate, sift"). The original notion is of carving marks in stone, wood, etc.

The meaning "handwriting, handwritten characters, style of handwriting" (as distinguished from print (n.)) is recorded by 1860; earlier, in typography, script was the name for a face cut to resemble handwriting (1838). Theatrical use, short for manuscript, is attested from 1884. In the study of language, "a writing system," by 1883.

The importance of Rome to the spread of civilization in Europe is attested by the fact that the word for "write" in Celtic and Germanic (as well as Romanic) languages derives from scribere (French écrire, Irish scriobhaim, Welsh ysgrifennu, German schreiben "to write," Dutch schrift "writing"). The cognate Old English scrifan means "to allot, assign, decree, to fine" (see shrive; also compare Old Norse skript "penance"). Modern English instead uses write (v.) to express this action.

script (v.)

1935, "adapt (a written work) for broadcasting or film," from script (n.). Figurative sense, "following prescribed directions," is by 1977. Related: Scripted; scripting.

updated on March 03, 2022

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