Word Origin & History
1562, from M.Fr., according to Fr. sources originally political, not religious. The name was applied in 1520s to Genevan partisans opposed to the Duke of Savoy (who joined Geneva to the Swiss Confederation), and it is probably an alteration of Swiss Ger. Eidgenoss "confederate," from M.H.G. eitgenoze,
from eit "oath" + genoze "comrade" (related to O.E. geneat "comrade, companion"). The form of the Fr. word probably alt. by assoc. with Hugues Besançon, leader of the Genevan partisans. In Fr., applied generally to Fr. Protestants because Geneva was a Calvinist center.