mid-14c., "upright piece of furniture providing protection from heat of a fire, drafts, etc.,"
probably from an aphetic (Anglo-French?) variant of O.N.Fr. escren, O.Fr. escran "a screen against heat" (early 14c.),
perhaps from M.Du. scherm "screen, cover," or Frank. *skrank "barrier,"
from a Germanic root related to O.H.G. skirm, skerm "protection" (cf. skirmish).
Meaning "net-wire frame used in windows and doors" is recorded from 1895.
Meaning "flat horizontal surface for reception of projected images" is from 1810, originally in reference to magic lantern shows; later of movies.
Transferred sense of "cinema world collectively" is attested from 1914; hence screenplay (1916), screen test (1922), screenwriter (1921).
Screen saver first attested 1990.