"rotating force," 1882, from Latin torquere "to twist, turn, turn about, twist awry, distort, torture," from PIE *torkw-eyo-, causative of root *terkw- "to twist." The word also is used (since 1834) by antiquarians and others as a term for the twisted metal necklace worn anciently by Gauls, Britons, Germans, etc., from Latin torques "collar of twisted metal," from torquere. Earlier it had been called in English torques (1690s). Torque-wrench is from 1941.
1570s (implied in torqued "twisted"), from torque (n.).