c.1300, "mantle fastener," from O.Fr. tassel
"a fastening, clasp" (c.1150), from V.L. *tassellus,
said to be from L. taxillus
"small die or cube," a dim. of talus
"knucklebone, ankle" (see talus
(1)). But OED finds this doubtful and calls attention to the variant form tossel
and suggests association with toss
(v.). Meaning "hanging bunch of small cords" is first recorded late 14c.