Word Origin & History
"stick for striking fire," late 14c., "wick of a candle or lamp," from O.Fr. meiche "wick of a candle," from V.L. *micca/*miccia (cf. Catalan metxa, Sp. mecha, It. miccia), probably ult. from L. myxa, from Gk. myxa "lamp wick," originally "mucus," based on notion of wick dangling from the spout of a
lamp like snot from a nostril. Meaning "piece of cord or splinter of wood soaked in sulphur, used for lighting fires, lamps, candles, etc." is from 1530. First used 1831 for the modern type of friction match, and competed with lucifer
for much of 19c. as the name for this invention.
"one of a pair," O.E. mæcca, from gemæcca "companion, mate, wife, one suited to another," from P.Gmc. *gamakon "fitting well together" (cf. O.H.G. gimah "comfort, ease," M.H.G. gemach "comfortable, quiet"), from PIE base *mak-/*mag- "to fit" (see make
sense of "matching adversary, person able to contend with another" (c.1300) led to sporting meaning "contest," first attested 1545. Match-maker "marriage-broker" is attested from c.1639.