1520s, "short note or document," from a shortened form of French etiquet "label, note," from Old French estiquette "a little note" (late 14c.), especially one affixed to a gate or wall as a public notice, literally "something stuck (up or on)," from estiquer "to affix, stick on, attach," from Frankish *stikkan, cognate with Old English stician "to pierce," from Proto-Germanic *stikken "to be stuck," stative form from PIE *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)).
Meaning "card or piece of paper that gives its holder a right or privilege" is first recorded 1670s, probably developing from the sense of "certificate, licence, permit." The political sense of "list of candidates put forward by a faction" has been used in American English since 1711. Meaning "official notification of offense" is from 1930. Big ticket item is from 1953. Slang the ticket "just the thing, what is expected" is recorded from 1838, perhaps with notion of a winning lottery ticket.
The sense development in French perhaps is from small cards written or printed with instructions for how to behave properly at court (compare Italian etichetta, Spanish etiqueta), and/or from behavior instructions written on a soldier's billet for lodgings (the main sense of the Old French word).
"one who goes back and forth to work," 1865, American English, originally "holder of a commutation ticket," agent noun from commute (v.).
A commutation ticket (1848) was a ticket issued (by a railroad, etc.) at a reduced rate entitling the holder to travel over a given route a limited number of times or an unlimited number of times over a certain period. It is from commute in its sense of "to change one kind of payment into another" (1795), especially "to combine a number of payments into a single one, pay a single sum instead of a number of successive payments" (1845).
1890, of a railroad ticket, "mark for use on a certain route," from route (n.). The meaning "direct (an electrical signal, phone call, etc.) over a particular circuit or to a particular location" is by 1948. Related: Routed; routing; routeing (1881).
["written insurance agreement"], 1560s, "written contract to pay a certain sum on certain contingencies," from French police "contract, bill of lading" (late 14c.), from Italian polizza "written evidence of a transaction, note, bill, ticket, lottery ticket," from Old Italian poliza, which, according to OED, is from Medieval Latin apodissa "receipt for money," from Greek apodexis "proof, declaration," from apo- "off" + deiknynai "to show," cognate with Latin dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Also formerly a form of gambling, "the numbers game" (by 1830).
Meaning "person who re-sells tickets at unauthorized prices for a profit," 1869, American English; earliest reference is to theater tickets, but often used late 19c. of brokers who sold unused portions of railway tickets. [Railways charged less per mile for longer-distance tickets; therefore someone traveling from New York to Chicago could buy a ticket all the way to San Francisco, get out at Chicago and sell it to a scalper, and come away with more money than if he had simply bought a ticket to Chicago; the Chicago scalper would hold the ticket till he found someone looking for a ticket to San Francisco, then sell it to him at a slight advance, but for less than the official price.] Perhaps from scalp (v.); scalper was a generic term for "con man, cheater" in late 19c. Or perhaps the connecting sense is the bounty offered for scalps of certain destructive animals (attested in New England from 1703) and sometimes Indians (i.e., having only part of something, but still getting paid). Some, though, see a connection rather to scalpel, the surgical instrument.