Entries linking to roller-skate
late 13c., "thing that rolls, roller for moving heavy objects;" late 14c., "a rolling pin," agent noun from roll (v.). The sense of "heavy cylinder for smoothing the ground is from 1520s.
Meaning "hair-curler" is attested from 1795; as a printer's tool, by 1790; as a device for applying paint, etc. to a flat surface, by 1955. The meaning "long, heavy, swelling wave" is by 1829. In combinations, it often means "done on or by means of roller-skates," for example roller derby (by 1936; see derby); roller hockey (1926); roller-disco (1978). Disparaging religious term holy roller is attested from 1842, American English, from the alleged rolling in the church aisles done by those in the Spirit.
"an ice-skate, a contrivance for enabling a person to glide swiftly on ice," 1660s, skeates (plural), from Dutch schaats (plural schaatsen), a singular mistaken in English for plural, from Middle Dutch schaetse. The word and the custom were brought to England after the Restoration by exiled followers of Charles II who had taken refuge in Holland.
The Dutch word is perhaps from Old North French escache "a stilt, trestle," related to Old French eschace "stilt" (French échasse), from Frankish *skakkja "stilt" or a similar Germanic source (compare Frisian skatja "stilt"), perhaps literally "thing that shakes or moves fast" and related to root of Old English sceacan "to vibrate" (see shake (v.)). Or perhaps [Klein] the Dutch word is connected to Middle Low German schenke, Old English scanca "leg" (see shank). If the former, the sense alteration in Dutch from "stilt" to "skate" is not clearly traced. The latter theory perhaps is supported by evidence that the original ice skates, up to medieval times, were leg bones of horse, ox, or deer, strapped to the feet with leather strips.
The sense in English was extended to roller-skates by 1876. The meaning "an act of skating" is from 1853. A slightly older word for an ice skate was scrick-shoe (1650s), from Middle Dutch scricschoe, from schricken "to slide."
updated on September 15, 2021