late 13c., "doctrine, authoritative teaching," from O.Fr. sentence
(12c.), from L. sententia
"thought, meaning, judgment, opinion," from sentientem
, prp. of sentire
"be of opinion, feel, perceive" (see sense
). Loss of first -i-
in L. by dissimilation. Meaning "punishment imposed by a court" is from c.1300; that of "grammatically complete statement" is attested from mid-15c., from notion of "meaning," then "meaning expressed in words." The verb meaning "to pass judgment" is recorded from c.1400.