late 14c., "having corners," past-participle adjective from corner (v.). Figurative sense "forced or driven into a position where surrender or defeat is inevitable" is from 1824.
late 14c., "to furnish with corners; bring to a point by convergence," from corner (n.). Meaning "to turn a corner," as in a race, is from 1860s. Meaning "drive or force (someone) into a corner," also figuratively, "force into a position where defeat or surrender is inevitable," is American English from 1824; commercial sense "monopolize the market supply of a stock or commodity" is from 1836. Related: Cornered; cornering.
Fatalism is a doctrine which does not recognize the determination of all events by causes, in the ordinary sense; holding, on the contrary, that a certain foreordained result will come about, no matter what may be done to prevent it. Fatalism is thus directly opposed to necessitarianism, according to which every event is determined by the events which immediately precede it in a mechanical way. [Century Dictionary]