c. 1300, corde, "a rope, line, bowstring, hangman's rope," from Old French corde "rope, string, twist, cord," from Latin chorda "string of a musical instrument, cat-gut," from Greek khorde "string, catgut, chord, cord," from PIE root *ghere- "intestine." Also from c. 1300 as "string of a musical instrument." From c. 1400 as "a tendon or muscle." As a measure of wood (eight feet long, four feet high and wide) first recorded 1610s, so called because it was measured with a cord of rope.
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