obsolete or archaic past tense of swear (v.), common 15c.-17c. by analogy of past tense of bear (v.).
masc. proper name, from Medieval Latin Carolus, which is of Germanic origin, from the common noun meaning "man, husband" (see carl). As a fem. proper name, an abbreviation of Caroline. The masc. name never has been popular in U.S.; the fem. form was common after c. 1900 and was a top-10 name for U.S. girls born 1936-1950.
1795; Figurative use by 1841. Hair perhaps in reference to the slight pressure required to activate it.
The difference between a hair-trigger and a common trigger is this—the hair-trigger, when set, lets off the cock by the slightest touch, whereas the common trigger requires a considerable degree of force, and consequently is longer in its operation. [Charles James, "Military Dictionary," London, 1802]
"to cut off by an ecclesiastical sentence either from the sacraments of the church or from all fellowship and intercourse with its members," early 15c., from Late Latin excommunicatus, past participle of excommunicare "put out of the community," in Church Latin "to expel from communion," from ex "out" (see ex-) + communicare "to share, communicate," related to communis "common" (see common (adj.)). Related: Excommunicated; excommunicating.