1520s, "short note or document," from a shortened form of French etiquet "label, note," from Old French estiquette "a little note" (late 14c.), especially one affixed to a gate or wall as a public notice, literally "something stuck (up or on)," from estiquer "to affix, stick on, attach," from Frankish *stikkan, cognate with Old English stician "to pierce," from Proto-Germanic *stikken "to be stuck," stative form from PIE *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)).
Meaning "card or piece of paper that gives its holder a right or privilege" is first recorded 1670s, probably developing from the sense of "certificate, licence, permit." The political sense of "list of candidates put forward by a faction" has been used in American English since 1711. Meaning "official notification of offense" is from 1930. Big ticket item is from 1953. Slang the ticket "just the thing, what is expected" is recorded from 1838, perhaps with notion of a winning lottery ticket.