mid-14c., from Old French pinte "liquid measure, pint" (13c.), probably from Vulgar Latin *pincta (source of Old Provençal, Spanish, Italian pinta), altered from Latin picta "painted," fem. past participle of pingere "to paint" (see paint (v.)), on notion of a painted mark on a vessel indicating this measure. Used elliptically for "pint of ale" (or beer) from 1742. Pint-sized "small" (especially in reference to children) is recorded from 1938.
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