mid-15c., amalettys, from Latin amuletum (Pliny) "thing worn superstitiously as a charm against spells, disease, etc.," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to amoliri "to avert, to carry away, remove." OED rejects Arabic origin. Not recorded again in English until c. 1600; the 15c. use may be via French. Related: Amuletic.