c. 1300 (probably older; piehus "bakery" is attested from late 12c.), "baked dish of pastry filled with a preparation of meats, spices, etc., covered with a thick layer of pastry and baked," from Medieval Latin pie "meat or fish enclosed in pastry" (c. 1300), which is perhaps related to Medieval Latin pia "pie, pastry," also possibly connected with pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)) on notion of the bird's habit of collecting miscellaneous objects.
According to the OED, the word is not known outside English with the exception of Gaelic pighe, which is from English. In the Middle Ages, a pie had many ingredients, a pastry but one. Fruit pies began to appear c. 1600.
The word in the figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1889. Slice of the pie in the figurative sense of "something to be shared out" is by 1967. Pie-eyed "drunk" is from 1904. Phrase pie in the sky is attested by 1911, from Joe Hill's Wobbly parody of hymns. Pieman "baker or seller of pies" is by c. 1300 as a surname. Pie chart is from 1922.
"magpie," mid-13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French pie (13c.), from Latin pica "magpie" (see magpie).
updated on June 04, 2020