Word Origin & History
O.E. leðer (in compounds only) "hide, skin, leather," from P.Gmc. *lethran (cf. O.N. leðr, O.Fris. lether, M.Du. leder, O.H.G. ledar, Ger. leder), from PIE *letrom (cf. O.Ir. lethar, Welsh lledr, Breton lezr). The word became synonymous with "sado-masochism" 1980s, having achieved that status
in homosexual jargon in the 1970s. Leatherneck "U.S. Marine" is Navy slang first recorded 1914, from the leather collars of their early uniforms; earlier in British use (1890) as a sailor's term for a soldier.