COLLATION (Lat. collatio, from conferre, to bring together or compare), the bringing together of things for the special purpose of comparison, and thus, particularly, the critical examination of the texts of documents or MSS. and the result of such comparison. The word is also a term in printing and bookbinding for the register of the "signatures," the number of quires and leaves in each quire of a book or MS. In Roman and Scots law "collation" answers to the English law term "hotch-pot" (q.v.). From another meaning of the Latin word, a consultation or conference, and so a treatise or homily, comes the title of a work of Johannes Cassianus (q.v.), the Conferences of the Fathers (Collationes Patrum). Readings from this and similar works were customary in monasteries; by the regula of St Benedict it is ordered that on rising from supper there should be read collationes, passages from the lives of the Fathers and other edifying works; the word is then applied to the discussions arising from such readings. On fast days it was usual in monasteries to have a very light meal after the Collatio, and hence the meal itself came to be called "collation," a meaning which survives in the modern use of the word for any light or quickly prepared repast.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)