Etymology
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subpoena (n.)

"legal writ or process commanding attendance in a court of justice of person on whom it is served, under penalty of a fine, etc.," early 15c., sub pena, from Medieval Latin sub poena "under penalty," the first words of the writ commanding the presence of someone under penalty of failure, from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + poena, ablative of poena "penalty" (see penal). The verb is attested from 1630s.

updated on October 14, 2022

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