late 14c., from O.Fr. participation (13c.), from L.L. participationem (nom. participatio), noun of action from pp. stem of L. participare "participate," from particeps (gen. participis) "partaker," from pars (gen. partis) "part" (see part (n.)) + root of capere "to take" (see capable). Participatory is attested from 1881; participatory democracy is from 1968.