late 13c., "coarse cloth;" mid-14c., "tablecloth, bedspread;" from Old French carpite "heavy decorated cloth, a carpet" (Modern French carpette), from Medieval Latin or Old Italian carpita "thick woolen cloth," probably from Latin carpere "to card, pluck" and so called because it was made from unraveled, shredded, "plucked" fabric; from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest." From 15c. in reference to floor coverings, which since 18c. has been the main sense. The smaller sort is a rug.
Formerly the carpet (usually in a single piece, like the Persian carpet) was also used (as it still is in the East) for covering beds, couches, tables, etc., and in hangings. [Century Dictionary]
From 16c.-19c., by association with luxury, ladies' boudoirs, and drawing rooms, it was used as an adjective, often with a tinge of contempt, in reference to men (as in carpet-knight, 1570s, one who has seen no military service in the field; carpet-monger, 1590s, a lover of ease and pleasure, i.e. one more at home on a carpet).
On the carpet "summoned for reprimand" is 1900, U.S. colloquial (but compare carpet (v.) "call (someone) to be reprimanded," 1823, British servants' slang). This may have merged with older on the carpet "up for consideration" (1726) literally "on the tablecloth," with the word's older sense, hence "a subject for investigation." To sweep or push something under the carpet in the figurative sense is first recorded 1953.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to gather, pluck, harvest."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit krpana- "sword," krpani "shears;" Greek karpos "fruit," karpizomai "make harvest of;" Latin carpere "to cut, divide, pluck;" Lithuanian kerpu, kirpti "to cut;" Middle Irish cerbaim "cut;" Old English hærfest "autumn."
"a fabric on which colored threads of wool, silk, gold, or silver are fixed to produce a pattern," late 14c., tapiestre, with unetymological -t-, from Old French tapisserie "tapestry" (14c.), from tapisser "to cover with heavy fabric," from tapis "heavy fabric, carpet," from tapiz "carpet, floor covering" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *tappetium, from Byzantine Greek tapetion, from classical Greek, diminutive of tapes (genitive tapetos) "heavy fabric, carpet, rug," from an Iranian source (compare Persian taftan "to turn, twist"), from PIE *temp- "to stretch." The figurative use is first recorded 1580s.
also carpet-bagger, 1868, American English, scornful appellation for Northern whites who set up residence in the South after the fall of the Confederate states seeking private gain or political advancement. The name is based on the image of men arriving with all their worldly goods in a big carpetbag. Sense later extended to any opportunist from out of the area (such as wildcat bankers or territorial officers in the West).
[A]n opprobrious term applied properly to a class of adventurers who took advantage of the disorganized condition of political affairs in the earlier years of reconstruction to gain control of the public offices and to use their influence over the negro voters for their own selfish ends. The term was often extended to include any unpopular person of Northern origin living in the South. [Century Dictionary]