The word proxy was borrowed in the early 1400s from Anglo-Norman procuracie, which meant "the office of the procurator", a procurator being a lawyer representing others (and that's why proxy means "something that represents something else"). In between that time, it obviously underwent quite a bit of alteration, taking on forms like prokecye and proccy before settling on the current word. Now, back to procuracie! It comes from the Old French verb procurare, which meant "take care of". In Latin, this had the same spelling and definition, but here we can break it down into its roots: pro meant "on behalf of" and curere was "care for". Pro- is from Proto-Indo-European per, which we've already seen tons of times as meaning "before". Curere, meanwhile, came to us (through the Latin noun cura) from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction keys, which meant "to heed". It seems that the IT term proxy server was coined sometime in the mid-1980s.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.