- mark (n.1)
- "trace, impression," Old English mearc (West Saxon), merc (Mercian) "boundary, sign, limit, mark," from Proto-Germanic *marko (source also of Old Norse merki "boundary, sign," mörk "forest," which often marked a frontier; Old Frisian merke, Gothic marka "boundary, frontier," Dutch merk "mark, brand," German Mark "boundary, boundary land"), from PIE *merg- "edge, boundary, border" (source also of Latin margo "margin;" Avestan mareza- "border," Old Irish mruig, Irish bruig "borderland," Welsh bro "district").
The primary sense is probably "boundary," which had evolved by Old English through "sign of a boundary," through "sign in general," then to "impression or trace forming a sign." Meaning "any visible trace or impression" first recorded c. 1200. Sense of "line drawn to indicate starting point of a race" (as in on your marks ...) first attested 1887. The Middle English sense of "target" (c. 1200) is the notion in marksman and slang sense "victim of a swindle" (1883). The notion of "sign, token" is behind the meaning "numerical award given by a teacher" (1829). Influenced by Scandinavian cognates.
- mark (n.2)
- "unit of money or weight," late Old English marc, a unit of weight (chiefly for gold or silver) equal to about eight ounces, probably from Old Norse mörk "unit of weight," cognate with German Mark, probably ultimately a derivative of mark (n.1), perhaps in sense of "imprinted weight or coin." Used from 18c. in reference to various continental coinages, especially. the silver coin of Germany first issued 1875.
- masc. proper name, variant of Marcus (q.v.). Among the top 10 names given to boy babies born in the U.S. between 1955 and 1970.