mid-15c., "light blow or stroke," probably imitative of a light blow with a whip. Earliest recorded use is in phrase not worth a flykke "useless." Meaning "quick turn of the wrist" is from 1897 in sports. As slang for "film," it is first attested 1926, a back-formation from flicker (v.), from their flickering appearance.
1816, "to throw off with a jerk," from flick (n.). Meaning "strike lightly with a quick jerk" is from 1838. Related: Flicked; flicking.
late 14c., skinnen, "to remove the skin from" (originally in reference to circumcision), from skin (n.). As "to have (a particular kind of) skin" from c. 1400. As "provide with skin, cover as with skin," 1540s.
In 19c. U.S. colloquial use, "to strip of valuable possessions, fleece, plunder;" hence skin-game (1868), one in which one player has no chance against the others (as with a stacked deck), the type of con game played in a skin-house ("gambling house;" the same phrase, for "theater featuring nude women" is attested by 1972). Skin the cat in gymnastics is from 1845. Related: Skinned; skinning.
c. 1200, "animal hide" (usually dressed and tanned), from Old Norse skinn "animal hide, fur," from Proto-Germanic *skinth- (source also of rare Old English scinn, Old High German scinten, German schinden "to flay, skin;" German dialectal schind "skin of a fruit," Flemish schinde "bark"), from PIE *sken- "to peel off, flay" (source also of Breton scant "scale of a fish," Irish scainim "I tear, I burst"), extended form of root *sek- "to cut."
The usual Anglo-Saxon word is hide (n.1). The meaning "epidermis of a living animal or person" is attested from early 14c.; extended to fruits, vegetables, etc. late 14c. Jazz slang sense of "drum" is from 1927. As short for skinhead from 1970. As an adjective, it formerly had a slang sense of "cheating" (1868, compare the verb); that of "pornographic" is attested from 1968. Skin deep "superficial, not deeper than the thickness of the skin" (also literally, of wounds, etc.) is attested by 1610s:
All the carnall beauty of my wife, Is but skin-deep.
[Sir Thomas Overbury, "A Wife," 1613; the poem was a main motive for his murder]
The skin of one's teeth as the narrowest of margins is attested from 1550s in the Geneva Bible, a literal translation of the Hebrew text in Job xix.20. To get under (someone's) skin "annoy" is from 1896. Skin graft is from 1871. Skin merchant "recruiting officer" is from 1792 (the older sense is "dealer in hides"). Skin and bone as a description of emaciation or extreme leanness is in Middle English:
Ful of fleissche Y was to fele, Now ... Me is lefte But skyn & boon. [hymn, c. 1430]