Word Origin & History
from O.E. dæl "part, share, quantity," and its verbal derivative dælan "to divide," from P.Gmc. *dailaz; also found in Balto-Slavic (cf. O.C.S. delu "part," Lith. dalis). Meaning "to distribute cards before a game" is from 1520s; business sense is 1837, originally slang. Meaning "an amount"
is from 1560s. New Deal is from F.D. Roosevelt speech of July 1932. Big deal is 1928; ironic use first recorded 1951 in "Catcher in the Rye." To deal with "handle" is attested from mid-15c. Deal breaker is attested by 1975.
"plank or board of pine," c.1400, from Low Ger. (cf. M.L.G. dele), from P.Gmc. *theljon. An O.E. derivative was þelu "hewn wood, board, flooring."