Please see my update on this here.
I recently got a very interesting question about the relationship between badger, the type of animal, and to badger, the verb meaning "pester". Turns out there is none! The verb badger emerged in the late eighteenth century from a previous verb meaning "to trade". Over time, that developed a sense of "to haggle" and then it took on more annoying connotations. The "trade" verb was first attested in 1600 and seems to be from a noun spelled badger, which referred to traders or, more specifically, fur traders (hence the name). That has an unknown origin, but is widely considered unrelated to the animal name or anything t0 do with bagging. The Oxford English Dictionary says it could come from an Old English surname or various botanical Latin names.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.