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mid-14c., "act of giving or dispensing; late 14c., "management, act of administering," from Latin administrationem (nominative administratio) "direction, management," noun of action from past participle stem of administrare (see administer).
Early 15c. as "management of a deceased person's estate." Meaning "the government" is attested from 1731 in British usage. Meaning "a U.S. president's period in office" is first recorded 1796 in writings of George Washington.