late 14c., from Old French chanter "to sing, celebrate" (12c.), from Latin cantare "to sing," originally frequentative of canere "sing" (which it replaced), from PIE root *kan- "to sing" (cf. Greek eikanos "cock," Old English hana "cock," both literally "bird who sings for sunrise;" Old Irish caniaid "sings," Welsh canu "sing"). The frequentative quality of the word was no longer felt in Latin, and by the time French emerged the word had entirely displaced canere. Related: Chanted; chanting.
1670s, from chant (v.), or else from French chant (12c.), from Latin cantus "song, a singing; bird-song," from past participle stem of canere.