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mid-14c., "action of stating," from Old French declaration, from Latin declarationem (nominative declaratio), noun of action from past participle stem of declarare (see declare). Meaning "proclamation, public statement" is from 1650s. Declaration of independence is recorded from 1776 (the one by the British American colonies seems to be the first so called; though the phrase is not in the document itself, it was titled that from the first in the press).