Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
c.1200, "thick stick used as a weapon," from Old Norse klubba "cudgel" or a similar Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish klubba, Danish klubbe), assimilated from Proto-Germanic *klumbon, related to clump (n.). Old English words for this were sagol, cycgel. Specific sense of "bat used in games" is from mid-15c.
The club suit in the deck of cards (1560s) bears the correct name (Spanish basto, Italian bastone), but the pattern adopted on English cards is the French trefoil. Cf. Danish klőver, Dutch klaver "a club at cards," literally "a clover."
The social club (1660s) apparently evolved from this word from the verbal sense "gather in a club-like mass" (1620s), then, as a noun, "association of people" (1640s).
We now use the word clubbe for a sodality in a tavern. [John Aubrey, 1659]Club sandwich recorded by 1899, apparently as a type of sandwich served in clubs; club soda is 1877, originally a proprietary name.
Admission to membership of clubs is commonly by ballot. Clubs are now an important feature of social life in all large cities, many of them occupying large buildings containing reading-rooms, libraries, restaurants, etc. [Century Dictionary, 1902]
I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it. [Rufus T. Firefly]
"to hit with a club," 1590s, from club (v.). Meaning "gather in a club-like mass" is from 1620s. Related: Clubbed; clubbing.
CLUB, verb (military). -- In manoeuvring troops, so to blunder the word of command that the soldiers get into a position from which they cannot extricate themselves by ordinary tactics. [Farmer & Henley]