c. 1200, "morally evil; offensive, objectionable" (other 13c. senses were "malevolent, hurtful, unfortunate, difficult"), from Old Norse illr "evil, bad; hard, difficult; mean, stingy," a word of unknown origin. Not considered to be related to evil. From mid-14c. as "marked by evil intentions; harmful, pernicious." Sense of "sick, unhealthy, diseased, unwell" is first recorded mid-15c., probably from a use similar to that in the Old Norse idiom "it is bad to me." Slang inverted sense of "very good, cool" is 1980s..