How did 'rendre' semantically shift from meaning 'give back' to 🡺 1. 'make, cause to be' 🡲 2. 'represent, depict'?
What semantic notions underlie "
give back" with
🢂 "make[,] or cause to be in a certain state"?
🡪 "represent, depict"?
render (v.) [on Etymonline]
late 14c., rendren, rendre, "repeat, say again, recite; translate,"
from Old French rendre "
give back[my emboldening], present, yield" (10c.) and Medieval Latin rendere,
from Vulgar Latin *rendere,
a variant of Latin reddere "give back, return, restore,"
from red- "back" (see re-)
+ combining form of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give").
The alteration in Vulgar Latin was perhaps simply nasalization or perhaps on analogy of its antonym, prendre "to take" (itself a contraction of prehendere). The irregular retention of -er in a French verb in English is perhaps to avoid confusion with native rend (v.) or by influence of a Middle English legalese noun render "a payment of rent," which is in part from French noun use of the infinitive.
The sense of "reduce," in reference to fats, "clarify by boiling or steaming" also is from late 14c. The meaning "hand over, yield up, deliver" is recorded from c. 1400; sense of "to return" (thanks, a verdict, etc.) is attested from late 15c., as is that of "make or cause to be) in a certain state; the meaning "represent, depict" is attested from 1590s.
Latin reddere meant ‘give back’. It was a compound verb formed from
the prefix re- ‘back’ and dāre ‘give’ (source of English date, donate, etc).
In Vulgar Latin this was changed to *rendere, perhaps under the influence of prendere ‘take’, which passed into English via Old French rendre.
Rent ‘payment’ goes back to the past participle of *rendere.
Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto, p 420 Right column.