Word Origin & History
c.1300, "household allowance of any kind (food, provisions, clothing) to retainers or servants," from Anglo-Fr. livere (late 13c.), O.Fr. livrée, originally "(clothes) delivered by a master to his servants," from fem. pp. of livrer "to dispense, deliver, hand over," from L. liberare (see
). The sense later was reduced to "servants' rations" and "provender for horses" (mid-15c.). The former led to the meaning "distinctive clothing given to servants" (early 14c.); the latter now is obsolete except in livery stable (1705). Related: Liveried.