c. 1300, gral, "the Holy Grail," from Old French graal, greal "Holy Grail; cup," earlier "large shallow dish, basin," from Medieval Latin gradalis, also gradale, grasale, "a flat dish or shallow vessel." The original form is uncertain; the word is perhaps ultimately from Latin crater "bowl," which is from Greek krater "bowl, especially for mixing wine with water" (see crater (n.)).
Holy Grail is Englished from Middle English seint gral (c. 1300), also sangreal, sank-real (c. 1400), which seems to show deformation as if from sang real "royal blood" (that is, the blood of Christ) The object had been inserted into the Celtic Arthurian legends by 12c., perhaps in place of some pagan otherworldly object. It was said to be the cup into which Joseph of Arimathea received the last drops of blood of Christ (according to the writers who picked up the thread of Chrétien de Troyes' "Perceval") or the dish from which Christ ate the Last Supper (Robert de Boron), and ultimately was identified as both ("þe dische wiþ þe blode," "Joseph of Aramathie," c. 1350?).
early 14c., "a basket or pannier for carrying on the back," originally Scottish and northern England, of unknown origin. Perhaps from Old French greil, grail "a grill," from Latin craticula "small griddle" (see grill (n.)).
The sense of "a framework" for any purpose is attested by 1788, but it is not certain these senses are the same word. Specifically "framework for holding bobbins or spools in a spinning machine" is by 1835.
c. 1300, "full of danger; risky; involving exposure to death, destruction or injury," also "spiritually dangerous," from Old French perillos "perilous, dangerous" (Modern French périlleux), from Latin periculosus "dangerous, hazardous," from periculum "a danger, attempt, risk," with instrumentive suffix -culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk." In Arthurian romances, the sege perilous (c. 1400) was the seat reserved for the knight who should achieve the quest of the Grail. Related: Perilously; perilousness.
c. 1300, "an inquest, a judicial inquiry;" early 14c., "a search for something, the act of seeking, pursuit" (especially in reference to hounds seeking game in the hunt), from Old French queste "search, quest, chase, hunt, pursuit; inquest, inquiry" (12c., Modern French quête), properly "the act of seeking," and directly from Medieval Latin questa "search, inquiry," alteration of Latin quaesitus (fem. quaesita) "sought-out, select," past participle of quaerere "seek, gain, ask" (see query (n.)).
The medieval romance sense of "adventure undertaken by a knight" (especially the search for the Grail) is attested from late 14c. Chaucer has questmonger (late 14c.), "one who profits from an unjust action at law."