c.1600, probably an alteration of quease (c.1550), from O.E. cwysan "to squeeze," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative (cf. Ger. quetschen "to squeeze"). Slang expression to put the squeeze on (someone or something) "exert influence" is from 1711. Baseball squeeze play first recorded 1905. Main squeeze "most important person" is attested from 1896; meaning "one's sweetheart, lover" is attested by 1980.