The modern definition of the word crew was first used in English in 1578 with the spelling crewe (another early form was crue). Earlier than that, it had a more specific meaning of "group of soldiers" or armed men, and earlier still it was a term for a group of soldiers sent somewhere as reinforcements. It comes from the Old French word creue, which translates to "recruit" or "increase" (since recruits increase the size of an army), and that derives from the Latin word crescere, meaning "to grow" (also the source of crescendo, increase, create, concrete, and funnily, recruit). Finally, it all comes from the Proto-Indo-European root ker, meaning "to grow". The name for the crew cut hairstyle emerged in the 1930s after it was used by rowers from Harvard and Yale Universities, and the same thing happened with the crew neck shirt
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.