Word Origin & History
"heavy metal weapon with a spiked head," c.1300, from O.Fr. mace "a club, scepter," from V.L. *mattea (cf. It. mazza, Sp. maza "mace"), from L. mateola "a kind of mallet." The L. word probably is cognate with Skt. matyam "harrow, club," O.C.S. motyka "mattock," O.H.G. medela "plow."
"spice made from dry outer husk of nutmeg," late 14c., from O.Fr. macis (in Eng. taken as a plural), sometimes said to be a scribal error for L. macir, a red spicy bark from India, but OED finds this etymology unlikely.
chemical spray originally used in riot control, 1966, technically Chemical Mace, a proprietary name (General Ordnance Equipment Corp, Pittsburgh, Pa.), probably so called for its use as a weapon, in ref. to mace
(1). The verb is first attested 1968.