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early 15c., "soft material for padding or stuffing," of uncertain origin, and the different meanings may represent more than one source. Among the possible connections are Medieval Latin wadda, Dutch watten, and Middle English wadmal (late 14c.) "woolen cloth," which seems to be from Old Norse vaðmal "a woolen fabric of Scandinavia," probably from vað "cloth" + mal "measure."
The meaning "bundle of currency" is American English, 1778. To shoot (one's) wad "do all one can do" is recorded from 1914. The immediate source of the expression probably is the sense of "disk of cloth used to hold powder and shot in place in a gun." Wad in slang sense of "a load of semen" is attested from 1920s, and the expression now often is felt in this sense. As a suffix, -wad in 1980s joined -bag, -ball, -head in combinations meaning "disgusting or unpleasant person."
1570s, from wad (n.). Related: Wadded; wadding.
black and earthy substance that consists mainly of hydrated manganese oxides; it is an important ore of manganese. It varies considerably in chemical composition and contains different impurities, often in large amounts. Wad is very soft, readily soils the fingers, and may be considered to be a mixture chiefly of pyrolusite and romanechite. It results from the decomposition of other manganese minerals and is often deposited in marshes or by springs; it bears the same relationship to manganese oxides that limonite and gummite do to iron and uranium oxides.