The type of of facial tissue we use today wasn't invented until the 1920s, but it had a meaning of "ribbon" or "handkerchief" since the late fourteenth century, when it was spelled tyssu. Spelling varied for a few hundred years after that, with alternations such as tyssewys, tisshue, tyssue, tysshewe, tysshiew, tushwe, tischay, tissu, and tissew being made up until the mid-1500s. The word comes from Old French tissu, which was the past participle of tistre, meaning "to weave". That traces to Latin texere ("to weave") which in turn came from tek, a Proto-Indo-European reconstruction meaning "to produce", by way of Proto-Italic tekso. Usage of the word tissue over time has been steadily increasing since the beginnning of the nineteenth century, save for a downward blip during the 1930s.
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.