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Old English team "set of draft animals yoked together," from Proto-Germanic *taumaz (cf. Old Norse taumr, Old Frisian tam, Dutch toom, Old High German zoum, German Zaum "bridle"), probably literally "that which draws," from *taugmaz "action of drawing," from series *taukh-, *tukh-, *tug-, represented by Old English togian "to pull, drag" (see tow), from PIE *deuk- "pull" (related to Latin ducere "to lead;" see duke (n.)). Applied to people in Old English, especially "group of people acting together to bring suit." Team spirit is recorded from 1928. Team player attested from 1886, originally in baseball.
1550s, "to harness beasts in a team," from team (n.). The meaning "to come together as a team" (usually with up) is attested from 1932. Related: Teamed; teaming.