Probably a Roman metaphoric extension of a nautical term for "driving a ship toward a particular landing." Popular modern meaning "be attractive or pleasing" is attested from 1907 (appealing in this sense is from 1891), extended from "address oneself in expectation of a sympathetic response" (1794). Related: Appealed.
1590s, "suppliant, applying to a higher authority," present-participle adjective from appeal (v.). Sense of "attractive" attested by 1854. Related: Appealingly.
late 14c., repēlen, "revoke, rescind, annul; withdraw (a privilege, etc.); repudiate (one's behavior)," from Anglo-French repeler (mid-14c.), Old French rapeler "call back, call in, call after, revoke" (Modern French rappeler), from re- "back" (see re-) + apeler "to call" (later appeler; see appeal (v.)). Related: Repealed; repealing; repealable.
mid-14c., pele, "a ringing of a bell" especially as a call to church service; generally considered a shortened form of appeal (n.), with the notion of a bell that "summons" people to church (compare similar evolution in peach (v.)). Middle English pele also had the sense of "an accusation, an appeal" (15c.), and apele for "a ringing of bells" is attested from mid-15c.
Extended sense of "loud ringing of bells" is first recorded 1510s; subsequently it was transferred to other successions of loud sounds (thunder, cannon, mass shouts or laughter). Meaning "set of bells tuned to one another" is by 1789.
"designation, name given to a person, thing, or class," mid-15c., from Old French apelacion "name, denomination" (12c.), from Latin appellationem (nominative appellatio) "an addressing, accosting; an appeal; a name, title," noun of action from past-participle stem of appellare "address, appeal to, name" (see appeal (v.)).
An appellation is a descriptive and therefore specific term, as Saint Louis; John's appellation was the Baptist; George Washington has the appellation of Father of his Country. A title is an official or honorary appellation, as reverend, bishop, doctor, colonel, duke. [Century Dictionary]