"to strike" (with something), c.1500, of unknown origin; perhaps from early 13c. pelten "to strike," variant of pilten "to thrust, strike," from an unrecorded Old English *pyltan, from Medieval Latin *pultiare, from Latin pultare "to beat, knock, strike." Or from Old French peloter "to strike with a ball," from pelote "ball" (see pellet (n.)) [Klein]. Watkins says the source is Latin pellere "to push, drive, strike." Related: Pelted; pelting.