1390, "refreshment or curing of a person, refreshment by eating," from O.Fr. recreacion (13c.), from L. recreationem (nom. recreatio) "recovery from illness," from recreatus, pp. of recreare "to refresh, restore," from re- "again" + creare (see create). Meaning "refresh oneself
by some amusement" is first recorded c.1400; abbreviated form rec is attested from 1929. Verb recreate "to refresh by physical influence" is attested from c.1560, but not now used, probably from confusion with re-create (q.v.). Recreational is from 1656.