Old English brom, popular name for several types of shrubs common throughout Europe (used medicinally and for fuel) and characterized by long, slender branches and many yellow flowers, from Proto-Germanic *bræmaz "thorny bush" (source also of Dutch braam, German Brombeere "blackberry"), from PIE *bh(e)rem- "to project; a point."
As "twigs of broom tied together to a handle to make a tool for sweeping," mid-14c. Traditionally, both the flowers and sweeping with broom twigs were considered unlucky in May (Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, etc.).
late 14c., "quick stroke, sweeping movement," probably from Old Norse visk "wisp of hay, something to sweep with," from Proto-Germanic *wisk- "move quickly" (source also of Danish visk "broom," Middle Dutch wisch, Dutch wis, Old High German wisc, German wisch "wisp, brush"), from PIE root *weis- "to turn, twist" (source also of Sanskrit veskah "noose," Czech vechet "a wisp of straw," Old English wiscian "to plait," weoxian "to clean" with a whisk or brush). Unetymological spelling with wh- is from 1570s. Meaning "implement for beating eggs, etc." first recorded 1660s.
late 15c., "move with a rapid sweeping motion" (intransitive), from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish viske "to wipe, rub, sponge," Norwegian, Swedish viska "wipe," also "wag the tail"), from the source of whisk (n.). Transitive sense is from 1510s; meaning "to brush or sweep (something) lightly over a surface" is from 1620s. Related: Whisked; whisking.
card game for four, 1660s, alteration of whisk, name of a kind of card game, alluded to as early as 1520s, perhaps so called from the notion of "whisking" up cards after each trick, and thus from whisk (v.). Altered perhaps on assumption that the word was an interjection invoking silence, by influence of whist "silent" (15c.).
also broom-stick, "stick or handle of a broom," 1680s, from broom (n.) + stick (n.). Earlier was broom-staff (1610s). Broom-handle is from 1817. The witch's flying broomstick originally was one among many such objects (pitchfork, trough, bowl), but the broomstick became fixed as the popular tool of supernatural flight via engravings from a famous Lancashire witch trial of 1612. Broomstick marriage, in reference to an informal wedding ceremony in which the parties jump over a broomstick, is attested from 1774.
house or family which reigned in England from 1154 to 1485, the name apparently is literally "broom-plant" (French plante genêt), from Latin genista "broom plant."
"broom-shaped," by 1891, from Latin scopa "broom" (see scopa) + -arious. Late Latin scoparius was "a sweeper." An older English word in the same sense was scopiform (1794).
Middle English besme, from Old English besma "bundle of twigs" (used as a broom or a flail), from West Germanic *besman- (source also of Old Frisian besma "rod, birch," Old Saxon besmo, Old High German besmo "broom, besom," German Besen, Dutch bezem), which is of unknown origin, possibly from a non-IE substrate language.
"hair of a man's face" (usually plural), c. 1600, originally a playful formation, from Middle English wisker "anything that whisks or sweeps" (early 15c.), agent noun from whisk (v.). In reference to animal lip hair, recorded from 1670s. Related: Whiskered; whiskers.