early 15c., "to sign at the bottom of a document," from Latin subscribere "write, write underneath, sign one's name; register," also figuratively "assent, agree to, approve," from sub "underneath" (see sub-) + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). The meaning "give one's consent" (by subscribing one's name) first recorded mid-15c.; that of "contribute money to" 1630s; and that of "become a regular buyer of a publication" 1711, all originally literal. Related: Subscribed; subscribing.
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