late 15c., "critical juncture" (as in in a pinch "in an emergency"), from pinch (v.). This figurative sense is attested earlier than the literal sense of "act of pinching" (1590s) or that of "small quantity" (as much as can be pinched between a thumb and finger), which is from 1580s. There is a pinche (n.) in mid-15c., perhaps meaning "fold or pleat of fabric."
The baseball pinch-hitter "batter substituted for another, especially at a critical point in the game" is attested by that name from 1912. To pinch-hit (v.) is by 1931.
"pivoted piece designed to fit into the teeth of a ratchet-wheel, permitting the wheel to rotate in one direction but not in the other," 1650s, rochet, from French rochet "bobbin, spindle," from Italian rocchetto "spool, ratchet," diminutive of rocca "distaff," possibly from a Germanic source (compare Old High German rocko "distaff," Old Norse rokkr), from Proto-Germanic *rukka-, from PIE root *ruk- "fabric, spun yarn." Compare rocket (n.2). The current spelling in English dates from 1721, influenced by synonymous ratch, which perhaps is borrowed from German Rätsche "ratchet."
mid-14c., "costly silken fabric of one color having a repeated pattern of the same color woven into it," from Old French diapre, diaspre "ornamental cloth; flowered, patterned silk cloth," perhaps via Medieval Latin diasprum from Medieval Greek diaspros "thoroughly white," or perhaps "white interspersed with other colors," from dia "thoroughly" (see dia-) + aspros "white."
Aspros originally meant "rough," and was applied to the raised parts of coins (among other things), and thus it was used in Byzantine Greek to mean "silver coin," from which the bright, shiny qualities made it an adjective for whiteness.
The sense of the English word descended through "textile fabric having a pattern not strongly defined and repeated at short intervals," especially, since 15c., of linen where the pattern is indicated only by the direction of the thread, the whole being white or in the unbleached natural color.
By 1590s this led to a sense "towel, napkin or cloth of diaper;" the main modern sense of "square piece of cloth for swaddling the bottoms of babies" is by 1837 and became common in 20c. Also "any pattern constantly repeated over a relatively large surface" (by 1851).
1610s, earlier mocayre, 1560s, "fine hair of the Angora goat," also a fabric made from this, from French mocayart (16c.), Italian mocaiarro, both from Arabic mukhayyar "cloth of goat hair," literally "selected, choice," from mu-, noun prefix, + khayar "choosing, preferring." The stuff was imported to Europe 14c.-15c. under the name camlet. Later used of imitations made of wool and cotton. Spelling influenced in English by association with hair. Moire "watered silk" (1650s) also used in reference to the shimmering visual effect, probably represents English mohair borrowed into French and back into English.
Old English walu "ridge, bank" of earth or stone, later "ridge made on flesh by a lash" (related to weal (n.2)); from Proto-Germanic *walu- (source also of Low German wale "weal," Old Frisian walu "rod," Old Norse völr "round piece of wood," Gothic walus "a staff, stick," Dutch wortel, German wurzel "root"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." The common notion perhaps is "raised line." Used in reference to the ridges of textile fabric from 1580s. Wales "horizontal planks which extend along a ship's sides" is attested from late 13c.