1533, from L. ovationem (nom. ovatio) "a triumph, rejoicing," from ovare "exult, rejoice, triumph," probably imitative of a shout (cf. Gk. euazein "to utter cries of joy"). In Roman history, a lesser triumph, granted to a commander for achievements insufficient to entitle him to a triumph proper. Figurative sense of "burst of enthusiastic applause" is first attested 1831.