"cross-tempered, irritable," 1807, from crank (n.) + -y (2). The evolution would be from earlier senses of crank, such as "a twist or fanciful turn of speech" (1590s); "inaccessible hole or crevice" (1560s). Grose's 1787 "Provincial Glossary" has "Cranky. Ailing sickly from the dutch crank, sick," and identifies it as a Northern word (this is probably from the vagabond slang sense, which ultimately is from German krank "sick"). Jamieson's Scottish dictionary (1825) has crank in a secondary sense of "hard, difficult," as in crank word, "a word hard to be understood;" crank job, "a work attended with difficulty, or requiring ingenuity in the execution." Related: Crankily; crankiness.
Ben. Dang it, don't you spare him—A cross grain'd cranky toad as ever crawl'd. (etc.) [Richard Cumberland, "Lovers Resolutions," Act I, 1813]
1530s, verbal noun from nurse (v.) in any sense. Specific meaning "profession of one who nurses the sick or injured" is from 1860 (Florence Nightingale).
also daemonic, 1660s, "devilish, of the nature of or pertaining to a demon," from Latin daemonicus, from daemon (see demon). Demonical is from late 15c. Old English glossed daemonicus with deofelseoc ("devil-sick").
1798, "mobile or field hospital," from French ambulance, formerly (hôpital) ambulant (17c.), literally "walking (hospital)," from Latin ambulantem (nominative ambulans), present participle of ambulare "to walk, go about" (see amble).
AMBULANCE, s. f. a moveable hospital. These were houses constructed in a manner so as to be taken to pieces, and carried from place to place, according to the movements of the army; and served as receptacles in which the sick and wounded men might be received and attended. ["Lexicographica-Neologica Gallica" (The Neological French Dictionary), William Dupré, London, 1801]
The word was not common in English until the meaning transferred from "field hospital" to "vehicle for conveying wounded from the field" (1854) during the Crimean War. Extended early 20c. to vehicles to transport the sick or wounded in civilian life. In late 19c. U.S. the same word was used dialectally to mean "prairie wagon." Ambulance-chaser as a contemptuous term for a type of lawyer dates from 1897.