- buckle (n.)
- "spiked metal ring for holding a belt, etc., c. 1300, bukel, from Old French bocle "boss (of a shield)," then "shield," then by further extension "buckle, metal ring," (12c., Modern French boucle), from Latin buccula "cheek strap of a helmet," in Late Latin "boss of a shield," diminutive of bucca "cheek" (see bouche).
Boucle in the middle ages had the double sense of a "shield's boss" and "a ring"; the last sense has alone survived, and it metaph. developed in the boucle de cheveux, ringlets. [Kitchin]
- buckle (v.2)
- "distort, warp, bend out of shape" 1520s, bokelen "to arch the body," from Middle French boucler "to bulge," from Old French bocler "to bulge," from bocle "boss of a shield" (see buckle (n.)). Meaning "bend under strong pressure" is from 1590s (figurative from 1640s) . Related: Buckled; buckling.
- buckle (v.1)
- late 14c., bokelen, "to fasten with a buckle," from buckle (n.). Related: Buckled; buckling. To buckle down "apply effort, settle down," (1874) is said to be a variant of knuckle down (see knuckle).