"professional penman, copyist, amanuensis, clerk," late 14c. (early 13c. as a surname), with superfluous -er + scrivein "scribe" (c. 1300, c. 1200 as a surname), from Anglo-French escrivin, Old French escrivain "a writer, notary, clerk" (Modern French écrivain), from Vulgar Latin *scribanem accusative of scriba "a scribe," from scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). For the dropping of Latin soft medial -b- to aspirated -v- in French, compare debere/devoir, caballum/cheval, habere/avoir, etc.
Middle English also had scrivable "suitable for being written on" (c. 1400); an adverb scrivenish (late 14c.); scrivenrie "craft or occupation of writing" (mid-15c.). A back-formed verb scriven "to write," especially in the wordy and repetitive style of legal documents, is attested by 1680s.
updated on March 03, 2022