Altered in French by influence of lit "bed." The meaning was extended early 15c. to "straw used for bedding" (this sense is early 14c. in Anglo-French) and by late 15c. to "offspring of an animal at one birth" (that is, in one bed). Litter by 19c. had come to mean both the straw bedding and the animal waste in it after use. The sense of "scattered oddments, disorderly debris" is first attested 1730 and probably is from litter (v.) "provide with bedding" (late 14c.) and sense extended from the image of strewing straw.
It forms all or part of: allay; anlage; belay; beleaguer; bylaw; coverlet; fellow; lager; lair; law; lawful; lawless; lawsuit; lawyer; lay (v.) "to cause to lie or rest;" ledge; ledger; lees; lie (v.2) "rest horizontally;" litter; lochia; low (adj.) "not high;" outlaw; scofflaw; stalag; vorlage.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite laggari "falls, lies;" Greek lekhesthai "to lie down," legos "bed," lokhos "lying in wait, ambush," alokhos "bedfellow, wife;" Latin lectus "bed;" Old Church Slavonic lego "to lie down;" Lithuanian at-lagai "fallow land;" Old Irish laigim "I lie down," Irish luighe "couch, grave;" Old English licgan "be situated, have a specific position; remain; be at rest, lie down."
"a covered litter, generally for one person, used in India and elsewhere in the East, borne by means of poles on the shoulders of four or six men," 1580s, from Portuguese palanquim (early 16c.), from Malay and Javanese palangki "litter, sedan," ultimately from Sanskrit palyanka-s "couch, bed, litter," from pari "around" + ancati "it bends, curves," related to anka-s "a bend, hook, angle," and meaning, perhaps, "that which bends around the body." Some have noted the "curious coincidence" of Spanish palanca, from Latin phalanga "pole to carry a burden." "The final nasal appears to have been a Portuguese addition as in mandarin, and is often absent from the forms given by early travellers ..." [OED].
masc. proper name, from Latin Antonius, name of a Roman gens (with an unetymological -h- probably suggested by many Greek loan words beginning anth-, such as anthros "flower," anthropos "man").
St. Anthony (4c.), Egyptian hermit, was patron saint of swineherds, to whom one of each litter was usually vowed, hence Anthony for "smallest pig of the litter (1660s; in condensed form tantony pig from 1590s). St. Anthony's Fire (1520s), popular name for erysipelas, is said to be so called from the tradition that those who sought his intercession recovered from that distemper during a fatal epidemic in 1089.