c.1300, "a fragment," from Old French escliz "splinter, fragment" (Modern French éclisse), a back-formation from esclicier "to splinter, shatter, smash," from Frankish *slitan "to split" or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German slihhan; see slit (v.)). Meaning "piece cut from something" emerged early 15c. Meaning "a slicing stroke" (in golf, tennis) is recorded from 1886. Slice of life (1895) translates French tranche de la vie, a term from French Naturalist literature.