late 15c., "iron plates forming a rim of a carriage wheel," probably from tire "equipment, dress, covering" (c. 1300), a shortened form of attire (n.). The notion is of the tire as the dressing of the wheel. The original spelling was tyre, which had shifted to tire in 17c.-18c., but since early 19c. tyre has been revived in Great Britain and become standard there. Rubber ones, for bicycles (later automobiles) are from 1877. A tire-iron originally was one of the iron plates; as a device for separating a tire from a wheel, by 1909.