A few days ago, I briefly mentioned how the word dress came from the Latin word regere, meaning "to rule", and I just want to elaborate on that, because it seems like a weird connection. So it turns out that the noun has held a lot of senses: it could mean "conduct", "the act of putting something in order", "the action of setting to rights", and "the action of dressing a wound" in addition to describing the garment. All of these meanings developed from a verb sense that came in the fourteenth century from Old French dresser, which meant something along the lines of "arrange" or "prepare". This sense of getting ready for something got extended to the concept of wearing clothes, and eventually to a specific type of clothing (this happens a lot across languages; consider Spanish vestido/vestirse).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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.