early 14c., "narrow band or strip of cloth," from O.Fr. label, lambel "ribbon, fringe" (Fr. lambeau "strip, rag, shred, tatter"), possibly from Frankish *labba (cf. O.H.G. lappa "flap"), from P.Gmc. *lapp- (see lap
(n.)). Sense of "strip attached to a document to hold a seal"
evolved in M.E. (late 14c.), and general meaning of "tag, sticker, slip of paper" is from 1670s. Meaning "circular piece of paper in the center of a gramophone record" (1907), containing information about the recorded music, led to meaning "a recording company" (1952). The verb meaning "to affix a label to" is from c.1600; figurative sense of "to categorize" is from 1853. Related: Labeled; labeling; labelled; labelling.