1690s, "spiral ornament on an Ionic capital," from French volute (16c.), from Italian voluta, from Latin voluta "a spiral scroll," noun use of fem. past participle of volvere "to turn around, roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Extended 1756 to any spiral thing or part. As a type of spiral seashell, it is attested from 1753.