Word Origin & History
c.1260, "enclosed preserve for beasts of the chase," from O.Fr. parc, probably ult. from W.Gmc. *parruk "enclosed tract of land" (cf. O.E. pearruc, root of paddock
(2), O.H.G. pfarrih "fencing about, enclosure," Ger. pferch "fold for sheep," Du. park). Internal evidence
suggests the W.Gmc. word is pre-4c. and originally meant the fencing, not the place enclosed. Found also in M.L. parricus "enclosure, park" (8c.), which is likely the direct source of the O.Fr. word, as well as It. parco, Sp. parque, etc. Some claim the M.L. word as the source of the W.Gmc., but the reverse seems more likely. OED discounts notion of a Celtic origin. Welsh parc, Gael. pairc are from English. As a surname, Parker "keeper of a park" is attested in Eng. from c.1145. Meaning "enclosed lot in or near a town, for public recreation" is first attested 1663, originally in ref. to London; the sense evolution is via royal parks in the original, hunting sense being overrun by the growth of London and being opened to the public. Applied to sporting fields in Amer.Eng. from 1867. New York's Park Avenue as an adj. meaning "luxurious and fashionable" (1956) was preceded in the same sense by London's Park Lane (1880).
1812, "to arrange military vehicles in a park," from park
(n.) in a limited sense of "enclosure for military vehicles" (attested from 1683). General non-military meaning "to put (a vehicle) in a certain place" is first recorded 1844. Parking lot is from 1924; parking ticket
first attested 1947; park-and-ride is from 1966. The transmission gear (n.) is attested from 1963.