Etymology
Advertisement
file (v.2)
"to smooth or abrade with a file," early 13c., from Old English filian, from the source of file (n.2). Related: Filed; filing.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
ASCII 
1963, initialism (acronym) from "American Standard Code for Information Interchange."
Related entries & more 
file (n.2)

metal tool for abrading or smoothing, Old English feol (Mercian fil) "file," from Proto-Germanic *fihalo "cutting tool" (source also of Old Saxon fila, Old High German fila, Middle Dutch vile, Dutch vijl, German Feile), probably from PIE root *peig- "to cut, mark by incision" (source also of Old Church Slavonic pila "file, saw," Lithuanian piela "file"). Century Dictionary (1906) lists 60 named varieties of them. Nail file (for the fingernails) is by 1819.

Related entries & more 
file (v.1)

"place (papers) in consecutive order for future reference," mid-15c., from Old French filer "string documents on a thread or wire for preservation or reference" (15c.), earlier "to spin thread," from fil "thread, string" (12c.), from Latin filum "a thread, string; thread of fate; cord, filament," from PIE *gwhis-lom, suffixed form of root *gwhi- "thread, tendon." The notion is of documents hung up on a line in consecutive order for ease of reference.

File (filacium) is a threed or wyer, whereon writs, or other exhibits in courts, are fastened for the better keeping of them. [Cowel, "The Interpreter," 1607]

Methods have become more sophisticated, but the word has stuck. Meaning "place among the records of a court or office" is from 1510s; of newspaper reporters sending in stories, 1954. Intransitive sense "march in a line (as soldiers do) one after another" is from 1610s. Related: Filed; filing.

Related entries & more 
file (n.1)

1520s, "string or wire on which documents are strung," from French file "a row" (15c.), noun derived from filer "string documents; spin thread" (see file (v.1)). The literal sense explains why from the beginning until recently things were generally on file (or upon file). The meaning "collection of papers systematically arranged for ready reference" is from 1620s; computer sense is from 1954. The sense "row of persons or things one behind another" (1590s) is originally military, from the French verb in the sense of "march in file." Meaning "line of squares on a chessboard running directly from player to player" is from 1610s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
text (v.)
"to send a text message by mobile system," 2005; see text (n.). Related: Texted; texting. Formerly it meant "to write in text letters" (1590s), text letters being a kind of large writing used by clerks in the text or body of a manuscript (distinguished from the smaller hand used in the notes).
Related entries & more 
text (n.)

late 14c., "wording of anything written," from Old French texte, Old North French tixte "text, book; Gospels" (12c.), from Medieval Latin textus "the Scriptures, text, treatise," in Late Latin "written account, content, characters used in a document," from Latin textus "style or texture of a work," literally "thing woven," from past participle stem of texere "to weave, to join, fit together, braid, interweave, construct, fabricate, build" (from PIE root *teks- "to weave, to fabricate, to make; make wicker or wattle framework"). 

An ancient metaphor: thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns — but the true storyteller, the poet, is a weaver. The scribes made this old and audible abstraction into a new and visible fact. After long practice, their work took on such an even, flexible texture that they called the written page a textus, which means cloth. [Robert Bringhurst, "The Elements of Typographic Style"]

To Socrates, a word (the name of a thing) is "an instrument of teaching and of separating reality, as a shuttle is an instrument of separating the web." The meaning "a digital text message" is by 2005.

Related entries & more 
nail-file (n.)

"small, flat, single-cut file for trimming the fingernails," by 1823, from nail (n.) + file (n.2).

Related entries & more 
rank and file (n.)

1590s, in reference to the horizontal and vertical lines of soldiers marching in formation, from rank (n.) in the military sense of "number of soldiers drawn up in a line abreast" (1570s) + file (n.1). Thence generalized to "common soldiers" (1796) and "common people, general body" of any group (1860).

Related entries & more 
filing (n.)
1712, verbal noun from file (v.1). Filing cabinet is from 1883.
Related entries & more