decorated, lovely," pimsati "hews out, cuts, carves, adorns;" O.C.S. pegu "variegated;" Gk. poikilos "variegated;" O.H.G. fehjan "to adorn;" O.C.S. pisati, Lith. piesiu "to write." Probably representing the "cutting" branch of the family are O.E. feol (see file
(n.)); O.C.S. pila "file, saw," Lith. pela "file." The noun is from c.1600. The verb meaning "to color with paint" (mid-13c.) is earlier than the artistic sense of "to make a picture of" (late 13c.) and older than painting in the sense of "an artist's picture in paint" (late 14c.); but painter is older in the sense of "artist who paints pictures" (mid-14c.) than in the sense of "workman who colors surfaces with paint" (c.1400). To paint the town (red) "go on a spree" first recorded 1884; to paint (someone or something) black "represent it as wicked or evil" is from 1590s. Adj. paint-by-numbers "simple" is attested by 1970.