"one who or that which drives" in various senses, late 14c. (late 13c. as a surname); agent noun from drive (v.). Earliest sense is "herdsman, drover, one who drives livestock." From mid-15c. as "one who drives a vehicle." In U.S., "overseer of a gang of slaves," by 1796. Meaning "golf club for hitting great distances" is by 1892. Driver's seat is attested by 1867; figurative use by 1954.