mid-15c., from Late Latin transplantare "plant again in a different place," from Latin trans "across, beyond" (see trans-) + plantare "to plant" (see plant (n.)). Extended to people (1550s) and then to organs or tissue (1786). Related: Transplanted; transplanting. An earlier verb was overplaunten "to transplant" (a tree), late 14c.
1756, in reference to plants, from transplant (v.); in reference to surgical transplanting of human organs or tissue it is first recorded 1951, but not in widespread use until Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first successful heart transplant in 1967 at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. Meaning "person not native to his place of residence" is recorded from 1961.