mid-14c., "chisel with a concave blade," from Old French gouge "a gouge" (14c.), from Late Latin gubia, alteration of gulbia "hollow beveled chisel," probably from Gaulish (compare Old Irish gulban "prick, prickle," Welsh gylfin "beak"). Meaning "an imposition, a cheat" is from 1845, American English colloquial.
1560s, "to cut with a gouge," from gouge (n.). Meaning "to force out with a gouge" (especially of the eyes, in fighting) attested by 1800. Meaning "to swindle" is American English colloquial from 1826 (implied in plural noun gougers). Related: Gouged; gouging.