late 14c., mitain (from mid-13c. in surnames) "a glove, a covering for the hand," especially "a covering for the hand, differing from a glove in not having a separate covering for each finger, the thumb only being separated," from Old French mitaine "mitten, half-glove" (12c.) and from Medieval Latin mitta, both of uncertain origin; both perhaps from Middle High German mittemo, Old High German mittamo "middle, midmost" (reflecting the notion of "half-glove"), or from Vulgar Latin *medietana "divided in the middle," from Latin medius (see medial (adj.)).
From 1755 as "lace or knitted silk glove for women covering the forearm, the wrist, and part of the hand," worn fashionably by women in the early 19c. and revived towards the end of it. Hence get the mitten (1825), of men, "be refused or dismissed as a lover" (colloquial), from the notion of receiving the mitten instead of the "hand."
1765, shortened form of mitten (q.v.) in the fashionable sense of "glove without fingers or with very short fingers of black lace or knitted silk, worn by women." In the more general sense of "glove without a separate covering for each finger" by 1812. Baseball sense of "protective glove for a pitcher, catcher, or fielder" is from 1902. Slang sense of "hand" is from 1896. Slang mitt-reader for "fortune teller" is by 1928.
1590s, "covering into which both hands may be thrust to keep them warm," from Dutch mof "a muff," shortened from Middle Dutch moffel "mitten, muff," from French moufle "mitten," from Old French mofle "thick glove, large mitten, handcuffs" (9c.), from Medieval Latin muffula "a muff," a word of unknown origin.
The muff was introduced into France toward the close of the sixteenth century, and soon after into England. It was used by both men and women, and in the seventeenth century was often an essential part of the dress of a man of fashion; but it is now exclusively an article of female apparel. [Century Dictionary]
Meaning "vulva and pubic hair" is from 1690s; muff-diver "one who performs cunnilingus" is from 1935.
early 15c., "to cover or wrap (something) to conceal or protect," perhaps from Old French moufle "thick glove, mitten;" see muff (n.). Compare Old French enmoufle "wrapped up;" Middle French mofler "to stuff." The meaning "wrap something up to deaden sound" is recorded by 1761. Related: Muffled; muffling. Muffled oars have mats or canvas about their shafts to prevent noise from contact with the oarlocks while rowing.
"glove," early 15c., gantelet, from Old French gantelet (13c.) "gauntlet worn by a knight in armor," also a token of one's personality or person, and in medieval custom symbolizing a challenge, as in tendre son gantelet "throw down the gauntlet" (a sense found in English by 1540s). The Old French word is a semi-diminutive or double-diminutive of gant "glove" (12c.), earlier wantos (7c.), from Frankish *wanth-, from Proto-Germanic *wantuz "glove" (source also of Middle Dutch want "mitten," East Frisian want, wante, Old Norse vöttr "glove," Danish vante "mitten"), which apparently is related to Old High German wintan, Old English windan "turn around, wind" (see wind (v.1)).
The name must orig. have applied to a strip of cloth wrapped about the hand to protect it from sword-blows, a frequent practice in the Icelandic sagas. [Buck]
Italian guanto, Spanish guante likewise are ultimately from Germanic. The spelling with -u- was established from 1500s.
"bottom of a sleeve," mid-14c., cuffe "hand covering, mitten, glove," perhaps from Medieval Latin cuffia, cuphia "head covering," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps ultimately from Greek.
Sense of "band around the sleeve" is first attested 1520s; sense of "turned-up hem of trousers" is by 1896. Meaning "a fetter for the wrist" is from 1660s. Adverbial phrase off the cuff "extemporaneously" is attested by 1938, American English colloquial, suggesting an actor or speaker reading from notes jotted on his shirt sleeves rather than reciting learned lines. Cuff-links (also cufflinks) is from 1887.
mid-14c., "demon;" late 14c., "a ragged lout," also in surnames (Isabella Ragamuffyn, 1344), from Middle English raggi "ragged" ("rag-y"?) + "fanciful ending" [OED], or else perhaps second the element is Middle Dutch muffe "mitten." Or, as Johnson has it, "From rag and I know not what else."
Ragged was used of the devil from c. 1300 in reference to his "shaggy" appearance. Raggeman (late 13c. as a surname, presumably "one who goes about in tattered clothes") was used by Langland as the name of a demon (late 14c.), and compare Old French Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in a mystery play. Sense of "dirty, disreputable boy" is from 1580s. Also compare ragabash "idle, worthless fellow" (c. 1600).