"curl hair," 1560s, of obscure origin. There are words of similar sound and sense in Old English (fris "curly"), Old Frisian (frisle), Middle French (friser "to curl") but their history is tangled; probably connected somehow to frizz (v.). Related: Frizzled; frizzling. As a noun from 1610s, "a short curl," from the verb. Frizzling iron was a 17c. term for "curling iron."