"bile, liver secretion," Old English galla (Anglian), gealla (West Saxon) "gall, bile," from Proto-Germanic *gallon "bile" (source also of Old Norse gall "gall, bile; sour drink," Old Saxon galle, Old High German galla, German Galle), from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting "green, yellow," and thus "bile, gall." Informal sense of "impudence, boldness" first recorded American English 1882; but meaning "embittered spirit, rancor" is from c. 1200, from the old medicine theory of humors.
"sore on skin caused by rubbing or chafing," Old English gealla "painful swelling, sore spot on a horse," probably from Latin galla "gall, lump on plant," originally "oak-gall" (see gall (n.3)). Perhaps from or influenced by gall (n.1) on notion of "poison-sore." Meaning "bare spot in a field" (1570s) is probably the same word. German galle, Dutch gal also are said to be from Latin.
"to make sore by chafing," mid-15c., from gall (n.2). Earlier "to have sores, be sore" (early 14c.). Figurative sense of "harass, vex, irritate, chafe the spirit of," is from 1570s. A past-participle adjective gealled is found in Old English, but OED says this is from the noun. Related: Galled; galling.
"excrescence on a plant caused by the deposit of insect eggs," especially on an oak leaf, late 14c., from Latin galla "oak-gall," which is of uncertain origin. They were harvested for use in medicines, inks, dyes.
updated on December 20, 2018