early 14c., "to cover (a street) with stones or other material," from Old French paver "to pave" (12c.), perhaps a back-formation from Old French pavement or else from Vulgar Latin *pavare, from Latin pavire "to beat, ram, tread down," from PIE root *pau- (2) "to cut, strike, stamp." Related: Paved; paving. The figurative sense of "make smooth" (as in pave the way) is attested from 1580s.
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