The word republic was first used by Anglican bishop John Hooper in his 1548 work Declaration of the Ten Holy Commandments. There, he spelled it republick, and that spelling prevailed for a while (along with republique and lesser-used forms like republict, repoblik, and reipublick) until republic became the normal way of writing in the eighteenth century. Via Middle French, the word was borrowed from Latin respublica, which referred more to "the state" in general than a particular type of government. This was originally two words: res, meaning "entity" or "affair", and publia, the feminine form of an adjective meaning "public" (so a republic is an "entity of the public"). Earlier on, res meant "property", and that comes from Proto-Indo-European rehis, meaning "wealth". Publia, meanwhile, derives from Proto-Italic poplos, meaning "army".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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.