boys' knife-throwing game, 1650s, originally mumble-the-peg (1620s), of unknown signification and origin. The usual story is that it is so called because "The last player to complete the series is compelled to draw out of the ground with his teeth a peg which the others have driven in with a certain number of blows with the handle of the knife" [Century Dictionary]; see mumble (v.) in the original sense "eat in a slow, inefficient manner."
"fasten with or as if on a peg, drive pegs into for the purpose of fastening," 1590s, from peg (n.). Meaning "fix the market price" is by 1882. Slang sense of "identify, classify" is recorded by 1920. Related: Pegged; pegging.
"pointed pin of wood, metal, or other material," mid-15c., pegge, from Middle Dutch pegge "peg," or a similar Low German word (Low German pigge "peg," German Pegel "gauge rod, watermark," Middle Dutch pegel "little knob used as a mark," Dutch peil "gauge, watermark, standard"); of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE *bak- "staff used as support" (see bacillus).
To be a square peg in a round hole (or the reverse) "be inappropriate for one's situation" is attested by 1836; to take someone down a peg "humble, lower the esteem of" is from 1580s, but the original literal sense is uncertain (most of the sensibly plausible candidates are not attested until centuries later). Peg leg "wooden leg of the simplest form" is attested from 1765.
in dancing, "a rapid whirling on one leg or on the points of the toes," 1706, from French pirouette "pirouette in dancing," originally "spinning top" (15c.), from Gallo-Roman root *pir- "peg, plug" (source of Italian piruolo "peg top") + diminutive suffix -ette. Hence, probably, U.S. Civil War slang piroot "to move or travel listlessly or aimlessly" (1863).
The meaning "device for changing the direction of something or making or breaking a connection" is first recorded 1797. "The peg sense suits the mech(anical) applications" [Weekley]; also compare switchblade. These senses in English might be a direct borrowing from those senses in Continental Germanic languages rather than a continuation of the "pliant wand" sense. The meaning "a change from one to another, a reversal, an exchange, a substitution" is first recorded 1920; extended form switcheroo is by 1933.
"small enclosure for domestic animals," Old English penn, penne, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old English pinn "pin, peg" (see pin (n.)) on the notion of a bolted gate or else "structure made of pointed stakes."
1550s, "goal, end, final point," from Latin terminus (plural termini) "an end, a limit, boundary line," from PIE *ter-men- "peg, post," from root *ter-, base of words meaning "peg, post; boundary, marker, goal" (source also of Sanskrit tarati "passes over, crosses over," tarantah "sea;" Hittite tarma- "peg, nail," tarmaizzi "he limits;" Greek terma "boundary, end-point, limit," termon "border;" Gothic þairh, Old English þurh "through;" Old English þyrel "hole;" Old Norse þrömr "edge, chip, splinter"). "The Hittite noun and the usage in Latin suggest that the PIE word denoted a concrete object which came to refer to a boundary-stone." [de Vaan]
In ancient Rome, Terminus was the name of the deity who presided over boundaries and landmarks, focus of the important Roman festival of Terminalia (held Feb. 23, the end of the old Roman year). The meaning "either end of a transportation line" is first recorded 1836.
late Old English pinn "peg or bolt of wood or metal used to hold things in place or fasten them together," from Proto-Germanic *penn- "jutting point or peak" (source also of Old Saxon pin "peg," Old Norse pinni "peg, tack," Middle Dutch pin "pin, peg," Old High German pfinn, German Pinne "pin, tack") from Latin pinna "a feather, plume;" in plural "a wing;" also "fin, scoop of a water wheel;" also "a pinnacle; a promontory, cape; battlement" (as in Luke iv.9 in Vulgate) and so applied to "points" of various sorts, from PIE root *pet- "to rush, to fly."
De Vaan and Watkins say Latin pinna is a derivative of penna, literally "feather" (see pen (n.1)); older theories regarded pinna as a separate word from a root meaning "sharp point." The Latin word also was borrowed in Celtic: Irish pinne "a pin, peg, spigot;" Welsh pin "a pin, pen."
The transition from 'feather' to 'pin' (a slender or pointed instrument) appears to have been through 'pen,' a quill, to ' pen,' a style or stylus, hence any slender or pointed instrument [Century Dictionary]
As a part of a lock or latch, c. 1200; as a control for a mechanical device, late 14c. The modern slender wire pin, used as a fastener for clothing or in sewing, is attested by this name by late 14c., perhaps late 13c. Transferred sense of "leg" is recorded from 1520s and holds the older sense. The meaning "wooden stick or club set up to be knocked down in a game" (skittles, bowling, etc.) is by 1570s.
Pin-money "annual sum allotted to a woman for personal expenses on dress, etc." is attested from 1620s. Pins and needles "tingling sensation" is from 1810. The sound of a pin dropping as a type of something all but silent is from 1775.