c.1600, "state of standing still," from M.Fr. consistence (Mod.Fr. consistance), from V.L. *consistentia, from consistent-, pp. stem of consistere (see consist). Meaning "coherence, solidity" is recorded from 1620s.
1590s, "firmness of matter," from L. consistentem, from consistere (see consist). Meaning "state of being in agreement or harmony" (with something) is from 1650s; meaning "self-consistent" is from 1716.