Sense of "boundary of a city or country" is from late 14c. From c. 1400 as "border region, district lying along the boundary of a country" (replacing earlier march). In U.S. history, "the line between the wild and settled regions of the country" (1827).
"a frontier, boundary of a country; border district," early 13c., from Old French marche "boundary, frontier," from Frankish *marka or some other Germanic source (compare Old Saxon marka, Old English mearc; Old High German marchon "to mark out, delimit," German Mark "boundary"), from Proto-Germanic *markō; see mark (n.1)). Now obsolete. Related: Marches.
In early use often in reference to the borderlands beside Wales, sometimes rendering Old English Mercia; later especially of the English border with Scotland. There was a verb marchen in Middle English (c. 1300), "to have a common boundary," from Old French marchier "border upon, lie alongside," which survived in dialect.
This is the old Germanic word for "border, boundary," but as it came to mean "borderland" in many languages, other words were shifted or borrowed to indicate the original sense (compare border (n.), bound (n.)"border, boundary"). Modern German Grenze is from Middle High German grenize (13c., replacing Old High German marcha), a loan-word from Slavic (compare Polish and Russian granica). Dutch grens, Danish groense, Swedish gräns are from German.
"side of ship," Old English bord "border, rim, ship's side," from Proto-Germanic *burdan (source also of Old Frisian bord, Old Saxon bord, Dutch boord "border, edge, ship's side," German Bord "margin, border," Old High German bart, Old Norse barð "margin, shore, ship-board"), perhaps from the same source as board (n.1), but not all sources accept this. Connected to border; see also starboard.
If not etymologically related to board (n.1), the two forms represented in English by these words were nonetheless confused at an early date in most Germanic languages, a situation made worse in English because this Germanic word also was adopted in Medieval Latin as bordus (source of Italian and Spanish bordo) and entered Old French as bort "beam, board, plank; side of a ship" (12c., Modern French bord), via either Medieval Latin or Frankish, and from thence it came over with the Normans to mingle with its native cousins. By now the senses are inextricably tangled. Some etymology dictionaries treat them as having been the same word all along.
To go by the board originally was "fall overboard" (1757), of a mast, etc., hence, generally, "be completely lost or destroyed" (1835). To be on board is from c. 1500, originally nautical, "close alongside;" then, less technically, "on the ship" (1708), perhaps by influence of aboard, or from the noun in the sense "plank;" extended to trains, planes, general situations.
The original Middle English sense is now obsolete. The sense of "enumeration" is from strips of paper used as a sort of catalogue. The native Old English form of the word lingered as list in a few specialized senses. List price is from 1871.
1520s, "to border on, have a common boundary," a sense now obsolete, from French confiner "to border; to shut up, enclose," which is perhaps from the noun confins (see confines) or from Medieval Latin confinare "border on; set bounds." Sense of "restrict within bounds, keep within limits" is from 1590s. Related: Confined; confining.