early 14c., creyme, from Old French cresme (13c., Modern French crème) "chrism, holy oil," blend of Late Latin chrisma "ointment" (from Greek khrisma "unguent;" from PIE root *ghrei- "to rub") and Late Latin cramum "cream," which is perhaps from Gaulish. Replaced Old English ream. Re-borrowed 19c. from French as creme. Figurative sense of "most excellent element or part" is from 1580s. Cream-cheese is from 1580s.
mid-15c., "to foam," from cream (n.). Meaning "to beat, thrash, wreck" is 1929, U.S. colloquial. Related: Creamed; creaming.
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