- feel (v.)
- Old English felan "to touch; perceive," in late Old English "have a mental perception," from Proto-Germanic *foljan (cognates: Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), from PIE root *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (cognates: Greek psallein "to pluck (the harp)," Latin palpare "to touch softly, stroke," palpitare "to move quickly"), perhaps ultimately imitative.
The meaning in Old English was "to perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a sensation or emotion" developed by late 13c.; that of "to have sympathy or compassion" is from c.1600. Meaning "to try by touch" is from late 14c. To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.
- feel (n.)
- early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. That of "sensation produced (by an object, surface, etc.)" is from 1739. Slang sense of "a sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).