mid-13c. sawer, sauere, "one whose occupation is the sawing of timber into planks, boards, etc." (as a surname from c. 1200), agent noun from saw (v.). Altered to the modern form after late 13c. by French and French-derived words in -ier (such as lawyer, bowyer, clothier).
1709, "ancient Scandinavian legend of considerable length," an antiquarians' revival to describe the medieval prose narratives of Iceland and Norway, from Old Norse saga "saga, story," cognate with Old English sagu "a saying" (see saw (n.2)).
Properly a long narrative composition of Iceland or Norway in the Middle Ages featuring heroic adventure and fantastic journeys, or one that has their characteristics. The extended meaning "long, convoluted story" is by 1857.
also jig-saw, vertical reciprocating saw, 1855, American English, from jig with its notion of "rapid up-and-down motion" + saw (n.1). It was largely displaced by the later band-saws. Jigsaw puzzle first recorded 1906; originally one with pieces cut by a jigsaw. Earlier was dissected map (or picture), 1807, "map or picture mounted on board and divided into more or less irregular parts, to be joined together as a puzzle."
"ten-dollar bill or note," also saw-buck, American English slang, 1850 (implied in double-sawbuck), so called from the resemblance of X (the Roman numeral 10, prominent in the design of many mid-19c. U.S. bank notes) to the ends of a sawhorse. Sawbuck in the sense of "sawhorse" is attested by 1837 (see saw (n.1) + buck (n.3)).
At the foot of the flag staff four saplings were erected, somewhat after the form of the two ends of a "saw-buck," and not very unlike the characters that denote the value of a ten dollar bill .... [Maumee Express, Maumee City, Ohio, Oct. 21, 1837]
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut." It forms all or part of: bisect; dissect; hacksaw; insect; intersect; resect; saw (n.1) "cutting tool;" Saxon; scythe; secant; secateurs; sect; section; sector; sedge; segment; skin; skinflint; skinny; transect.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite shakk- "to know, pay attention to;" Latin secare "to cut," sectio "a cutting, cutting off, division;" Old Church Slavonic seko, sešti "to cut," sečivo "ax, hatchet," Russian seč' "to cut to pieces;" Lithuanian įsėkti "to engrave, carve;" Albanian šate "mattock;" Old Saxon segasna, Old English sigðe "scythe;" Old English secg "sword," seax "knife, short sword;" Old Irish doescim "I cut."
petrel-like bird, 1848, from the Modern Latin name in zoology (1799), from Greek priōn "a saw," related to priein, prizein "to saw, to be cut in pieces," which is of uncertain etymology. So called for its saw-like bill.