c. 1400, scroule, scrowell, "roll of parchment or paper" used for writing, an altered (by association with rolle "roll") of scrowe (c. 1200), from Anglo-French escrowe, Old French escroe, escroele "scrap, strip or roll of parchment," from Frankish *skroda "shred" or a similar Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (source also of Old English screada "piece cut off, cutting, scrap"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *sker- (1) "to cut." Also compare shred (v.)). As a spiral-shaped decorative device, resembling a partly unrolled scroll, by early 15c. on garments, by 1610s on furniture or in architecture.
c. 1600, "to write down in a scroll," c. 1600, from scroll (n.). Sense of "show a few lines at a time" (on a computer or other screen) is recorded by 1981. Related: Scrolled; scrolling.