early 14c., "a dragged vehicle used for transport of heavy goods," from Middle Dutch sledde "sled," from Proto-Germanic *slid- (source also of Old Saxon slido, Old Norse sleði, Danish slæde, Swedish släde, Old High German slito, German Schlitten "sledge"), from the same root as Old English slidan (see slide (v.)). Not found in Old English. In reference to a sleigh used for travel or recreation, it is attested from 1580s, now mainly American English.
"transport on a sled," 1718; "ride on a sled," 1780, from sled (n.). Related: Sledded; sledding.