"to scrape, shave, polish," from P.Gmc. *skabanan
(cf. O.N. skafa
, M.Du. scaven,
, Goth. skaban
), from PIE *skabh-
, collateral form of base *(s)kep-
"to cut, to scrape, to hack" (cf. Gk. skaptein
"to dig," L. scabere
"to scratch, scrape;" see shear
). Original strong verb status is preserved in past tense form shaven.
Specifically in reference to cutting the hair close from mid-13c. Figurative sense of "to strip (someone) of money or possessions" is attested from late 14c.