early 13c., from O.Fr. descepline, from L. disciplina "instruction given to a disciple," from discipulus (see disciple). Sense of "treatment that corrects or punishes" is from notion of "order necessary for instruction." The Latin word is glossed in O.E. by þeodscipe.
Meaning "branch of instruction or education" is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "military training" is from late 15c.; that of "orderly conduct as a result of training" is from c.1500. The verb is attested from c.1300. Related: Disciplined; disciplines.