Our word tuition originally meant "guardianship"! The meaning of "money you pay to a school" was applied because colleges and schools are your temporary guardians and charge you fees, so the definition began to shift. Anyway, in the early 1400s, guardianship came from Anglo-Norman tuycioun, which came from Old French tuicion, which had a very similar meaning. As many Old French words did, this derives from Latin, in this case from the nominative tuitio, or "protection", which in turn is a conjugation of tueri, "to watch over". This makes tuition distantly conencted to the words tutor and intuition. It is theorized to be from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction tewh, which would mean "to observe" if the origin is correct. It appears that as colleges charge more and more, the word tuition has risen in usage throughout time, now at its peak.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a 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.