Word Origin & History
"building fitted to grind grain," O.E. mylen "mill," an early Gmc. borrowing from L.L. molina, molinum "mill" (cf. Fr. moulin, Sp. molino), originally fem. and neut. of molinus "pertaining to a mill," from L. mola "mill, millstone," related to molere "to grind," from PIE *mel-/*mol-/*ml- "grind" (cf.
Gk. myle "mill"). Also from L.L. molina, directly or indirectly, are Ger. Mühle, Dan. mølle, O.C.S. mulinu. Broader sense of "grinding machine" is attested from 1550s. Other types of manufacturing machines driven by wind or water, whether for grinding or not, began to be called mills by early 15c. Sense of "building fitted with industrial machinery" is from c.1500. The verb meaning "to grind" is attested from 1550s. Related: Milled.
"one-tenth cent," 1791, introduced as a U.S. currency unit but now only used for tax calculation purposes, shortening of L. millesimum "one-thousandth," from mille "a thousand" (see mile
). Formed on the analogy of cent, which is short for L. centesimus "one hundredth" (of a dollar).
"to keep moving round and round in a mass," 1874 (implied in milling), originally of cattle, from mill
(n.1) on resemblance to the action of a mill wheel. Related: Milling.