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game played with balls, mid-15c. (implied in bowlyn), from gerund of bowl "wooden ball" (early 15c.), from Old French bole (13c., Modern French boule) "ball," ultimately from Latin bulla "bubble, knob, round thing" (see bull (n.2)).
Noon apprentice ... [shall] play ... at the Tenys, Closshe, Dise, Cardes, Bowles nor any other unlawfull game. [Act 11, Henry VII, 1495]
Old English bolla "pot, cup, bowl," from Proto-Germanic *bul- "a round vessel" (cf. Old Norse bolle, Old High German bolla), from PIE *bhl-, from root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).
The sockets of the lamps of the golden candlestick of the tabernacle are called bowls (Ex. 25:31, 33, 34; 37:17, 19, 20); the same word so rendered being elsewhere rendered "cup" (Gen. 44:2, 12, 16), and wine "pot" (Jer. 35:5). The reservoir for oil, from which pipes led to each lamp in Zechariah's vision of the candlestick, is called also by this name (Zech. 4:2, 3); so also are the vessels used for libations (Ex. 25:29; 37:16).