late 14c., from side (n.).
Old English side "flanks of a person, the long part or aspect of anything," from Proto-Germanic *sithon (source also of Old Saxon sida, Old Norse siða, Danish side, Swedish sida, Middle Dutch side, Dutch zidje, Old High German sita, German Seite), from adjective *sithas "long" (source of Old English sid "long, broad, spacious," Old Norse siðr "long, hanging down"), from PIE root *se- "long, late" (see soiree).
Original sense preserved in countryside. Figurative sense of "position or attitude of a person or set of persons in relation to another" (as in choosing sides) first recorded mid-13c. Meaning "one of the parties in a transaction" is from late 14c.; sense in a sporting contest or game is from 1690s. Meaning "music on one side of a phonograph record" is first attested 1936. Phrase side by side "close together and abreast" is recorded from c. 1200. Side-splitting "affecting with compulsive laughter" is attested by 1825.
late 15c., "to cut into sides" (of meat), from side (n.). Meaning "to support one of the parties in a discussion, dispute, etc.," is first attested 1590s, from side (n.) in the figurative sense; earlier to hold sides (late 15c.). Related: Sided; siding.
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