late 14c., from O.Fr. total, from M.L. totalis "entire, total" (as in summa totalis "sum total"), from L. totus "all, whole, entire," of unknown origin. The noun is 1557, from the adj.; the verb is 1716, from the noun; meaning "to destroy one's car" first recorded 1954. Totality is from 1598; in the eclipse sense, 1842. Total war is attested from 1937, in ref. to a concept developed in Germany.