mid-14c., "real, ordinary; earthly, drawn from the material world" (contrasted with spiritual, mental, supernatural), a term in scholastic philosophy and theology, from Old French material, materiel (14c.) and directly from Late Latin materialis (adj.) "of or belonging to matter," from Latin materia "matter, stuff, wood, timber" (see matter (n.)).
From late 14c. as "made of matter, having material existence; material, physical, substantial." From late 15c. as "important, relevant, necessary, pertaining to the matter or subject;" in the law of evidence, "of legal significance to the cause" (1580s).
late 14c., "component substance, matter from which a thing is made," from material (adj.).
"a promotional advertisement," 1958 (in Billboard magazine headlines), shortening of promotion in the sense "advertising, publicity."
Colloquial sense of "promotional material" (from recording companies, etc.) was in use by 2001; swag was English criminal's slang for "quantity of stolen property, loot" from c. 1839. This might be related to earlier senses of "round bag" (c. 1300) and "big, blustering fellow" (1580s), which may represent separate borrowings from the Scandinavian source. "The primary meaning was 'a bulging bag'" [Klein].
"music recording given out for promotional purposes," by 1958 in Billboard magazine headlines and advertisements, short for demonstration disk. The word was used earlier to mean "a public political demonstration" (1936).
"old material worked up anew, something concocted from material formerly used," usually of literary productions, 1849, from rehash (v.).