A Short History of the Letter B
"payment for use of property," mid-12c., a legal sense, originally "income, revenue" (late Old English), from Old French rente "payment due; profit, income," from Vulgar Latin *rendita, noun use of fem. past participle of rendere "to render" (see render (v.)).
"torn place," 1530s, noun use of Middle English renten "to tear, rend" (early 14c.), variant of renden (see rend (v.)).
mid-15c., "to rent out property, grant possession and enjoyment of in exchange for a consideration paid," from Old French renter "pay dues to," or from rent (n.1). Related: Rented; renting. Earlier (mid-14c.) in the more general sense of "provide with revenue." Sense of "to take and hold in exchange for rent" is from 1520s. Intransitive sense of "be leased for rent" is from 1784. Prefix rent-a- first attested 1921, mainly of businesses that rented various makes of car (Rentacar is a trademark registered in U.S. 1924); extended to other "temporary" uses since 1961.
Old English rendan, hrendan "to tear, cut down," from West Germanic *randijanan (cf. Old Frisian renda "to cut, break," Middle Low German rende "anything broken," German Rinde "bark, crust"), probably related to rind. Related: Rended; rent; rending.
(Isa. 3:24), probably a rope, as rendered in the LXX. and Vulgate and Revised Version, or as some prefer interpreting the phrase, "girdle and robe are torn [i.e., are 'a rent'] by the hand of violence."