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1856, as a noun, "style, artistic skill," from French chic, 19c. in "stylishness" sense, originally "subtlety" (16c.), of unknown origin, perhaps [Klein] related to German Schick "tact, skill," from Middle Low German schikken "arrange appropriately," or Middle High German schicken "to arrange, set in order;" or from French chicane, from chicanerie (see chicanery). The adjectival meaning "stylish" is from 1879 in English, "Not so used in F[rench]." [OED].