file (v.) Look up file at Dictionary.com
"place (papers) in consecutive order for future reference," mid-15c., from Middle French filer "string documents on a wire for preservation or reference," from fil "thread, string" (12c.), from Latin filum "a thread, string," from PIE *gwhis-lom (cognates: Armenian jil "sinew, string, line," Lithuanian gysla "vein, sinew," Old Church Slavonic zila "vein"), from root *gwhi- "thread, tendon." The notion is of documents hung up on a line.
File (filacium) is a threed or wyer, whereon writs, or other exhibits in courts, are fastened for the better keeping of them. [Cowel, "The Interpreter," 1607]
Methods have become more sophisticated, but the word has stuck. Related: Filed; filing.
file (n.2) Look up file at Dictionary.com
metal tool, Old English feol (Mercian fil), from Proto-Germanic *finkhlo (cognates: Old Saxon fila, Old High German fila, Middle Dutch vile, Dutch vijl, German Feile), probably from PIE *peig- (1) "to cut, mark by incision" (see paint (v.)). The verb in this sense is from early 13c., from Old English filian. Related: Filed; filing.
file (n.1) Look up file at Dictionary.com
1520s, "string or wire on which documents are strung," from French file "row," from Middle French filer (see file (v.)). The meaning "arranged collection of papers" is from 1620s; computer sense is from 1954. The military sense "line or row of men" (1590s) is from the French verb in the sense of "spin out (thread); march in file."