The person who asked for this word etymologized is a genius of ironical humor. Today meaning "asking for something", request came from the French word requeste, defined as the noun form of "request", showing how the word verbified over time. This is from Latin requista, "a thing asked for", which derives from the earlier word requirere, cognate and etymon of the current word require (through French requerre). Here we eliminate the obvious prefix: re- was attached to the root quarere, which meant "question" but originally also meant "to ask". This is interesting because the semantics shifted from "ask" to "give", seemingly an about-face but really an innocuous transition. The origin here is labeled "uncertain" but is in fact generally agreed upon by etymologists: through Proto-Italic kwaiseo, we can trace the stem of request to the Proto-Indo-European inquisitive pronoun kwo. Fascinating.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd