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"a line or band in cloth," 1620s (but probably much older), from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German stripe "stripe, streak," from Proto-Germanic *stripanan (cf. Danish stribe "a striped fabric," German Streifen "stripe"), cognate with Old Irish sriab "stripe," from PIE root *streig- (see strigil). Of soldiers' chevrons, badges, etc., attested from 1827.
"a stroke or lash," mid-15c., probably a special use of stripe (n.1), from the marks left by a lash. Cf. also Dutch strippen "to whip," West Frisian strips, apparently cognate but not attested as early as the English word.