late 15c., originally nautical, "to fit (a ship) with necessary tackle, make (a ship) ready for sea," a word of obscure origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish, Norwegian rigge "to equip," Swedish rigga "to rig, harness"), though these may be from English; perhaps ultimately from PIE *reig- "to bind."
The extended sense of "dress, fit out with, furnish with, provide" with something is by 1590s. That of "to adjust, put in condition for use, set in working order" is by 1620s.
The slang meaning "pre-arrange or tamper with results" is attested from 1938, perhaps a different word, from rig (n.) "a trick, swindle, scheme" (1775), earlier "sport, banter, ridicule" (1725), itself of unknown origin. Compare rig (n.2), which seems to approach some of these senses. To rig the market was a 19c. stock exchange phrase for "raise or lower prices artificially to one's private advantage." Also there is rig (v.) "ransack" from 1560s, likewise of unknown origin. Related: Rigged; rigging.
"distinctive arrangement of sails, masts, etc. on a ship; the characteristic manner of fitting the masts and rigging to the hull of any vessel," without regard to the hull, 1822, from rig (v.). Extended to costume, clothing outfit, especially if of a fanciful description, by 1843. Extension to a horse-drawn vehicle (1831) led to the sense of "truck, bus, etc." (1851); and apparatus for well-sinking (1875).
"a wanton girl or woman," 1570s, slang, now obsolete, of obscure origin. Also as a verb, "to play the wanton, romp about." Related: Rigged; rigging.
1610s, "one who rigs ships," agent noun from rig (v.). Extended to one who works on aircraft by 1912; sense of "one who works on an oil rig" is by 1949.
c. 1400, "action of fitting (a ship) with ropes, etc.; 1590s as "the ropes that work the sails of a ship;" probably a verbal noun from rig (v.). Compare Middle Dutch rigen, Italian rigano (13c.).
principal Hindu sacred book, 1776, Reig Beid, from Sanskrit rigveda, from rg- "praise, hymn, spoken stanza," literally "brightness" (from PIE *erkw- "to radiate, beam; praise") + veda "knowledge" (from PIE *weid-o-, from root *weid- "to see"). A thousand hymns, orally transmitted, probably dating from before 1000 B.C.E. Related: Rig-vedic.
Old English þymel "sheath or covering for the thumb," from thuma (see thumb (n.)) + instrumental suffix -el (1), used in forming names of tools (compare handle (n.)). The unetymological -b- appears mid-15c. (compare humble, nimble, etc.). Originally of leather, metal ones came into use 17c. Related: Thimbleful. Thimblerig, con game played with three thimbles and a pea or button, is attested from 1825 by this name, though references to thimble cheats, probably the same swindle, date back to 1716 (see rig (v.)).
c. 1200, "a whip used for inflicting pain or punishment, a lash used for torture," from Anglo-French scorge, escorge, back-formation from Old French scurge, eschurge "a whip, scourge, thong," from escorgier "to whip," which is from Vulgar Latin *excorrigiare. This is a compound of Latin ex- "out, off," or here perhaps intensive, (see ex-) + corrigia "thong, shoelace," in Late Latin "rein," with sense extension here to "whip." This is probably [Barnhart] from a Gaulish word related to Old Irish cuimrech "fetter," from PIE root *reig- "to bind" (see rig (v.)).
Figurative use is from late 14c., biblical, "a punishment, a punitive infliction;" also "one who or that which scourges or destroys." Scourge of God (Latin flagellum Dei), a title given by later generations to Attila the Hun (406-453 C.E.), is attested from late 14c. (Goddes scourge).