Etymology
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tit for tat 
1550s, possibly an alteration of tip for tap "blow for blow," from tip (v.3) "tap" + tap "touch lightly." Perhaps influenced by tit (n.2).
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tat (v.)
1882, "to do tatting," back-formation from tatting.
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toe (v.)

"touch or reach with the toes," 1813, from toe (n.). First recorded in expression toe the mark, which seems to be nautical in origin.

The chief mate ... marked a line on the deck, brought the two boys up to it, making them "toe the mark." [Richard H. Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast," 1840]

Related: Toed; toeing.

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toe (n.)

Old English ta "toe" (plural tan), contraction of *tahe (Mercian tahæ), from Proto-Germanic *taihwō(n) (source also of Old Norse ta, Old Frisian tane, Middle Dutch te, Dutch teen (perhaps originally a plural), Old High German zecha, German Zehe "toe"). Perhaps originally meaning "fingers" as well (many PIE languages still use one word to mean both fingers and toes), and thus from PIE root *deik- "to show."

Þo stode hii I-armed fram heued to þe ton. [Robert of Gloucester, "Chronicle," c. 1300]

The old plural survived regionally into Middle English as tan, ton. To be on (one's) toes "alert, eager" is recorded from 1921. To step on (someone's) toes in the figurative sense "give offense" is from late 14c. Toe-hold "support for the toe of a boot in climbing" is from 1880.

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rat-a-tat (n.)

"a rattling sound or effect," 1680s, echoic, originally of a cooper hammering tubs.

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tick-tack-toe (n.)

children's three-in-a-row game with Xs and Os, so called by 1892, earlier tit-tat-toe (by 1852, in reminiscences of earlier years), also called noughts and crosses (1852), also oughts and crosses. Probably from the sound of the pencil on the slate with which it originally was played by schoolboys. Also the name of a children's counting rhyme played on slate (also originally tit-tat-toe, by 1842), and compare tick-tack (1580s), a form of backgammon, possibly from French trictrac, perhaps imitative of the sound of tiles on the board.

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Roland 

masc. proper name, from French, from Old High German Hrodland, literally "(having a) famous land," from hrod- "fame, glory" (from Proto-Germanic *hrothi-) + land (see land (n.)). The name of the legendary nephew of Charlemagne, celebrated in "Chanson de Roland" (c. 1300) and suchlike romances. His comrade was Oliver, hence a Roland for an Oliver (1610s) in expressions meaning "to give as good as one gets, tit for tat."

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taunt (v.)

mid-15c. (implied in tauntingly), possibly [Skeat] from French tanter, tenter "to tempt, try, provoke," variant of tempter "to try" (see tempt). Or from French tant pour tant "so much for so much, tit for tat," on notion of "sarcastic rejoinder" (considered by OED the "most likely suggestion"), thus from Old French tant "as much," from Latin tantus, from tam "so;" see tandem. Related: Taunted; taunting.

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