The word “Apostille” (pronounced a-pos-TEE, not a-pos-TEAL or a-pos-TILL-ee) is of French origin. It comes from the French verb “apostiller”, which derives from the old French wordpostille meaning“annotation”, and before it the Latin word postilla, a variation of the word postea, which means “thereafter, afterwards, next” (Le Nouveau Petit Robert: Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française, Paris, 2004).
Usage of the words “Apostille” and “apostiller” dates back to the end of the 16th century in France. Thus, an Apostille consisted of an annotation in the margin of a document or at the end of a letter.During the negotiations on the Hague Apostille Convention, the term “Apostille” was preferred because of its novelty. According to the reporter:
“Following a discussion on terminology [in the French language], the word Apostille have been preferred because of its appealing novelty.” The meanings of the word Apostille described above are still valid today.
1 archaic : a marginal note
2 : a document used in international law that is issued by a government in accordance with the Hague Convention and that certifies that another document has been signed by a notary public. History and Etymology for apostille. Middle French, from apostiller to add notes, ultimately from Medieval Latin postilla note, probably from post illa (verba textus) after those (words of the text)