One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The action of paying, in money or service, what is due by law or custom, originally especially towards a feudal superior; a payment or the performance of a service in settlement of such a debt or duty; a fee, a remuneration.
2Cultural Anthropology. A gift, payment, or service that forms part of some traditional function in a society, given or due either to a specific person or to a group; the giving or performance of such a gift or service.
Late 15th century; earliest use found in Rolls of Parliament. From Anglo-Norman and Middle French prestation action of paying money (especially to a feudal superior), feudal payment, action of rendering a service (especially to a feudal superior) and its etymon classical Latin praestātiōn-, praestātiō payment of money, goods, or services, in settlement of an obligation, in post-classical Latin, especially a feudal due from praestāt-, past participial stem of praestāre + -iō; compare -ation.
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