- sack (n.1)
- "large bag," Old English sacc (West Saxon), sec (Mercian), sæc (Old Kentish) "large cloth bag," also "sackcloth," from Proto-Germanic *sakkiz (cf. Middle Dutch sak, Old High German sac, Old Norse sekkr, but Gothic sakkus probably is directly from Greek), an early borrowing from Latin saccus (cf. Old French sac, Spanish saco, Italian sacco), from Greek sakkos, from Semitic (cf. Hebrew saq "sack").
The wide spread of the word is probably due to the story of Joseph. Slang meaning "bunk, bed" is from 1825, originally nautical. The verb meaning "go to bed" is recorded from 1946.
- sack (n.2)
- "a dismissal from work," 1825, from sack (n.1), perhaps from the notion of the worker going off with his tools in a bag; the original formula was to give (someone) the sack. It is attested earlier in French (on luy a donné son sac, 17c.) and Dutch (iemand de zak geven). The verb is recorded from 1841. Related: Sacked; sacking.
- sack (n.3)
- "sherry," 1530s, alteration of French vin sec "dry wine," from Latin siccus "dry" (see siccative).
- sack (v.1)
- "to plunder," 1540s, from Middle French sac, in the phrase mettre à sac "put it in a bag," a military leader's command to his troops to plunder a city (parallel to Italian sacco, with the same range of meaning), from Vulgar Latin *saccare "to plunder," originally "to put plundered things into a sack," from Latin saccus "bag" (see sack (n.1)). The notion is probably of putting booty in a bag. This is the root of the verb in the U.S. football sense (1969).