late 14c., verbal noun from stand (v.). In the sense of "rank, status," it is first recorded 1570s. Sense of "state of having existed for some time" is 1650s. Legal sense is first recorded 1924. Sports sense is from 1881. To be in good standing is from 1789. Standing room is from 1788, originally in reference to theaters. SRO for "standing room only" is attested by 1890.
A young gentleman attempting to get into Drury-lane play-house, found there was such a croud of people that there was no room. Just without the door, a damsel of the town accosted him with 'can't you get in, sir?' to which he replied in the negative. 'If you'll go along with me, resumed she you may get in very easily, for I can furnish you with very good standing room.' ["The Banquet of Wit, or A Feast for the Polite World," London, 1790]
late 14c., "at rest, motionless," also "permanent, not transient," present-participle adjective from stand (v.). Meaning "having an erect position, upright" is from 1570s; that of "done while standing" is from 1630s. The sense in standing army (c. 1600) is "permanent." Standing ovation is from 1902.