on (someone)" (1679). Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (c.1627) than in the literal sense of "oil from the fruit of the W.African palm" (1705, from palm
"tropical tree," O.E. palma, O.Fr. palme, both from L. palma "palm tree," originally "palm of the hand;" the tree so called from the shape of its leaves, like fingers of a hand (see palm
(1)). The word traveled early to northern Europe, where the tree does not grow, via Christianity
(e.g. O.E. palm-sunnandæg "Palm Sunday"). In ancient times, a leaf or frond was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence fig. use of palm for "victory, triumph" (c.1386), and adj. palmy "triumphant" (1602). Palm court "large room in a hotel, etc., usually decorated with potted palms" first recorded 1908. Palmer "pilgrim who has returned from the Holy Land" (1176, as a surname) is from Anglo-Fr. palmer (O.Fr. palmier), from M.L. palmarius, from L. palma "palm tree." So called because they wore palm branches in commemoration of the journey.