Etymology
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gray (n.)
c. 1200, from gray (adj.). Gray as figurative for "Southern troops in the U.S. Civil War" is first recorded 1863, in reference to their uniform color.
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skate (v.)
1690s, "to ice-skate," from skate (n.2). U.S. slang sense of "to get away with something" is attested from 1945. Related: Skated; skating. A modern Latinate word for an ice-skating rink is glaciarium (1876).
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gray (adj.)
"of a color between white and black; having little or no color or luminosity," Old English græg "gray" (Mercian grei), from Proto-Germanic *grewa- "gray" (source also of Old Norse grar, Old Frisian gre, Middle Dutch gra, Dutch graw, Old High German grao, German grau), with no certain connections outside Germanic. French gris, Spanish gris, Italian grigio, Medieval Latin griseus are Germanic loan-words. The spelling distinction between British grey and U.S. gray developed 20c. Expression the gray mare is the better horse in reference to households ruled by wives is recorded from 1540s.
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skate (n.1)
"type of flat, cartilaginous fish, a kind of ray," mid-14c., from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skata "skate," Danish skade, Faeroese skøta, of unknown origin.
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gray (v.)
"become gray, wither," 1610s (with an isolated instance from late 14c.), from gray (adj.). Related: Grayed; graying.
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skate (n.2)

"ice skate," 1660s, skeates "ice skates," from Dutch schaats (plural schaatsen), a singular mistaken in English for plural, from Middle Dutch schaetse. The word and the custom were brought to England after the Restoration by exiled followers of Charles II who had taken refuge in Holland.

The Dutch word is perhaps from Old North French escache "a stilt, trestle," related to Old French eschace "stilt" (French échasse), from Frankish *skakkja "stilt" or a similar Germanic source (compare Frisian skatja "stilt"), perhaps literally "thing that shakes or moves fast" and related to root of Old English sceacan "to vibrate" (see shake (v.)). Or perhaps [Klein] the Dutch word is connected to Middle Low German schenke, Old English scanca "leg" (see shank). If the former, the sense alteration in Dutch from "stilt" to "skate" is not clearly traced. The latter theory perhaps is supported by evidence that the original ice skates, up to medieval times, were leg bones of horse, ox, or deer, strapped to the feet with leather strips.

The sense in English was extended to roller-skates by 1876. Meaning "an act of skating" is from 1853. A slightly older word for an ice skate was scrick-shoe (1650s), from Middle Dutch scricschoe, from schricken "to slide." 

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ice-skate (v.)

"to glide across a frozen surface on ice-skates," 1690s, from ice (n.) + skate (n.2). The verb usually was skate until the advent of roller-skating mid-18c. made distinction necessary. A run of severe winters that froze over the Thames in the late 17c. made ice-skating popular in England. Related: Ice-skates (1862).

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roller-skate (n.)

also rollerskate, "a skate mounted on small wheels instead of iron or steel runners," 1861, American English, from roller + skate (n.2). The verb is from 1885. Related: Roller-skated; roller-skater; roller-skating.

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iron-gray (adj.)
Middle English, from Old English isengræg; see iron (n.) + gray (adj.). The color of freshly broken cast iron.
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cheapskate (n.)

also cheap skate, "miserly person," 1896, from cheap (adj.), second element perhaps from American English slang skate "worn-out horse" (1894), which is of uncertain origin. Also compare skite.

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