Word Origin & History
O.E. slean "to smite," also "to kill with a weapon" (class VI strong verb; past tense sloh, slog, pp. slagen), from P.Gmc. *slakhanan, from base *slog- "to hit" (cf. O.N., O.Fris. sla, Dan. slaa, M.Du. slaen, Du. slaan, O.H.G. slahan, Ger. schlagen, Goth. slahan "to strike"), from PIE base from base
*slak- "to strike" (cf. M.Ir. pp. slactha "struck," slacc "sword"). Modern Ger. cognate schlagen maintains the original sense of "to strike." Meaning "overwhelm with delight" (1340) preserves some of the wider rangeof meanings that the word once had, including also "to strike a spark" (O.E.).