"club-shaped instrument used for pounding and breaking materials in a mortar," mid-14c. pestel, (as a surname late 13c.), from Old French pestel and directly from Latin pistillum (Medieval Latin pestellum) "pounder, pestle," related to pinsere "to pound," from PIE *pis-to-, suffixed form of root *peis- "to crush" (source also of Sanskrit pinasti "pounds, crushes," pistah "anything ground, meal," Greek ptissein "to winnow," Old Church Slavonic pišo, pichati "to push, thrust, strike," pišenica "wheat," Russian pseno "millet").
Also in old use "the leg of certain animals used for food" (14c.), hence pestle of a lark "a trifle, an unimportant matter" (1590s).
also pist, "beaten track of a horse or other animal," 1727, from French piste, from Latin pista (via) "beaten (track)," from pistus, past participle of pinsere "to pound, stamp" (see pestle).
green, aromatic, olive oil-based pasta sauce, a Genoese specialty, 1937, from Italian pesto, contracted form of pestato, past participle of pestare "to pound, to crush," in reference to the crushed herbs and garlic in it, from Latin root of pestle.
"female or seed-bearing organ of a flower," 1718, from French pistil, from Modern Latin pistillum "a pistil," so called from resemblance to a pestle, from Latin pistillum "pestle" (see pestle). Related: Pistillary; pistillaceous; pistillate; pistilline.
in mechanics, "a movable piece so fitted as to fill the section of a tube and capable of being driven alternately in two directions by pressure on either side," 1704, from French piston "a piston," in Middle French "large pestle," from Old Italian pistone "a piston," variant of pestone "a pestle," from pestare "to pound," from Late Latin pistare, frequentative of Latin pinsere (past participle pistus) "to pound" (see pestle). As a verb, "to move like a piston," from 1930.
late Old English pil "sharp stake or stick," also, poetically, "arrow, dart," from Latin pilum, the name of the heavy javelin of the Roman foot soldier (source of Old Norse pila, Old High German pfil, German Pfeil "arrow"), a word of uncertain origin. De Vaan finds the identification of it with the pilum that means "pestle, pounder" (from *pis-tlo-, from the root of pinsere "to crush, pound;" see pestle) to be defensible.
In engineering and architecture, "a heavy timber beam, pointed or not, driven into the soil for support of a structure or as part of a wall." It also has meant "pointed head of a staff, pike, arrow, etc." (1590s) and the word is more or less confused with some of the sense under pile (n.1).
"bowl for pounding, vessel in which substances are beaten to powder by means of a pestle," c. 1200, from Old French mortier "bowl; builder's mortar" and directly from Latin mortarium "bowl for mixing or pounding," also used of the material prepared in it, a word of unknown origin as it is impossible now to determine which sense was original. Watkins says probably from PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm;" de Vaan finds this plausible. Late Old English had mortere, from the same Latin source, which might also be a source of the modern word. German Mörser also is from Latin.
Sense of "strike the foot forcibly downwards" is from mid-14c. The meaning "impress or mark (something) with a die" is first recorded 1550s. Italian stampa "stamp, impression," Spanish estampar "to stamp, print," French étamper (13c., Old French estamper) "to stamp, impress" are Germanic loan-words. Related: Stamped; stamping. To stamp out originally was "extinguish a fire by stamping on it;" attested from 1851 in the figurative sense. Stamping ground "one's particular territory" (1821) is from the notion of animals. A stamped addressed envelope (1873) was one you enclosed in a letter to speed or elicit a reply.
"a stick or staff used in beating, a war-club, staff used to strike the ball in certain games," c. 1200, from rare Old English batt "cudgel," a western England word at first, probably from Welsh or another Celtic source (compare Irish and Gaelic bat, bata "staff, cudgel"), later reinforced and influenced by Old French batte "pestle," from Late Latin battre "to beat;" all from PIE root *bhat- "to strike." As a kind of wooden paddle used to play cricket (later baseball), it is attested from 1706.
Middle English sense of "a lump, piece, chunk" (mid-14c.) was used of bread, clay, wool, and survives in brickbat and batting (n.1). Phrase right off the bat (1866), also hot from the bat (1870), probably represent a baseball metaphor, but cricket or some other use of a bat might as easily be the source--there is an early citation from Australia (in an article about slang): "Well, it is a vice you'd better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again, and I'll give it to him right off the bat. I'll wipe up the floor with him. I'll ---" ["The Australian Journal," November 1888].