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early 13c., hurlen, "to run against (each other), come into collision," later "throw forcibly" (c.1300); "rush violently" (late 14c.); perhaps related to Low German hurreln "to throw, to dash," and East Frisian hurreln "to roar, to bluster." OED suggests all are from an imitative Germanic base *hurr "expressing rapid motion;" see also hurry. The noun is attested from late 14c., originally "rushing water." For difference between hurl and hurtle (which apparently were confused since early Middle English) see hurtle.