Greek goddess or personification of infatuation and blundering mischief, from atē "damage, ruin; guilt; blindness, dazzlement, infatuation; penalty, fine," which is of uncertain origin.
From late 14c. as "hasten, rush, move swiftly and strongly;" also "collect by sweeping." From c. 1400 in transitive sense "drive quickly, impel, move or carry forward by force;" mid-15c. as "clear (something) away." Meaning "win all the events" is 1960, American English. Sense of "pass systematically over in search of something" is from 1966. To sweep (someone) off (his or her) feet "affect with infatuation" is from 1913.
late 15c., "woman's small pet dog," a word of uncertain origin but likely to be from French poupée "doll, toy" (see puppet). "A little dog appears to have been called puppy because petted as a doll or puppet" [Century Dictionary].
The meaning shifted from "toy dog" to "young dog" (1590s), replacing native whelp. In early use in English the words puppet and puppy were not always distinguished. The word also was used from about that time in the contemptuous sense of "vain or silly young man."
Puppy-dog is attested by 1590s (in Shakespeare, puppi-dogges). Puppy love "juvenile infatuation" is from 1823. Puppy fat "excessive fat on a child or adolescent" is by 1913 (in reference to young dogs by 1894).
late 15c., "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power, or in the performance of a religious rite;" from Latin victima "sacrificial animal; person or animal killed as a sacrifice," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to vicis "turn, occasion" (as in vicarious), if the notion is an "exchange" with the gods. Perhaps distantly connected to Old English wig "idol," Gothic weihs "holy," German weihen "consecrate" (compare Weihnachten "Christmas") on notion of "a consecrated animal."
Sense of "person who is hurt, tortured, or killed by another" is recorded from 1650s; meaning "person oppressed by some power or situation, person ruined or greatly injured or made to suffer in the pursuit of an object, or for the gratification of a passion or infatuation, or from disease or disaster" is from 1718. Weaker sense of "person taken advantage of, one who is cheated or duped" is recorded from 1781.
The women's order, though sometimes persecuted, generally preserved its good reputation, but it quickly drew imposters who did not; nonetheless it eventually was condemned as heretical. A male order, called Beghards founded communities by the 1220s in imitation of them, but they soon degenerated (compare Old French beguin "(male) Beguin," also "hypocrite") and wandered begging in the guise of religion; they likely were the source of the words beg and beggar, though there is disagreement over whether Beghard produced Middle Dutch beggaert "mendicant" or was produced by it. The male order was condemned by the Church early 14c. and vanished by mid-16c.
Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" (1935) refers to a kind of popular dance of West Indian origin, from French colloquial béguin "an infatuation, boyfriend, girlfriend," earlier "child's bonnet," and before that "nun's headdress" (14c.), from Middle Dutch beggaert, ultimately the same word as the above. Compare English biggin "child's cap" (1520s), from the French word.