early 15c. (transitive), from Old French collecter "to collect" (late 14c.), from Latin collectus, past participle of colligere "gather together," from com- "together" (see com-) + legere "to gather" (see lecture (n.)). The intransitive sense is attested from 1794. Related: Collected; collecting. As an adjective meaning "paid by the recipient" it is attested from 1893, originally with reference to telegrams.