c.1200, "to repeat, reiterate, recite; rehearse, get by heart," from Old French recorder "tell, relate, repeat, recite, report, make known" (12c.) and directly from Latin recordari "remember, call to mind, think over, be mindful of," from re- "restore" (see re-) + cor (genitive cordis) "heart" (as the metaphoric seat of memory, cf. learn by heart); see heart.
Meaning "set down in writing" first attested mid-14c.; that of "put sound or pictures on disks, tape, etc." is from 1892. Related: Recorded; recording.