1765, from Fr. bulletin
(16c.), modeled on It. bulletino,
dim. of bulletta
"document, voting slip," itself a dim. of L. bulla
(2)). The word was used earlier in English in the Italian form (mid-17c.). Popularized by their use in the Napoleonic Wars as the name for dispatches sent from the front meant for the home public (which led to the proverbial expression as false as a bulletin
). Bulletin board
is from 1831.