Word Origin & History
"bundle," early 13c., probably from a Low Ger. word (cf. M.Du. pac, pack "bundle," M.L.G. pak, M.Flem. pac, attested from 1199), originally a term of wool traders in Flanders; or possibly from O.N. pakki, all of unknown origin. Italian pacco is a Du. loan word. Meaning "set of persons" (usually of a
low character" is c.1300, older than sense of "group of hunting animals" (early 15c.). Extended to collective sets of playing cards (1590s), floating ice (1791), cigarettes (1924), and submarines (1943). Meaning "knapsack on a frame" is attested from 1916. Pack-horse is from late 15c.; packsaddle "saddle for supporting packs on the back of a mount" is from late 14c. (pakke sadil). Pack of lies first attested 1763.
c.1300, "to put together in a pack," from pack
(n.), possibly influenced by Anglo-Fr. empaker (1294) and M.L. paccare "pack." Some senses suggesting "make secret arrangement" are from an Elizabethan mispronunciation of pact. Sense of "to carry or convey in a pack" (1805) led
to general sense of "to carry in any manner;" hence to pack heat "carry a gun," underworld slang from 1940s; "to be capable of delivering" (a punch, etc.) is from 1921.