mid-15c., "group of soldiers," from Middle French crue (Old French creue) "an increase, recruit, military reinforcement," from fem. past participle of creistre "grow," from Latin crescere "arise, grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow"). Meaning "people acting or working together" is first attested 1560s. "Gang of men on a warship" is from 1690s. Crew-cut first attested 1938, so called because the style originally was adopted by boat crews at Harvard and Yale.
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