early 13c., "rolled-up piece of parchment or paper" (especially one inscribed with an official record), from Old French rolle "document, parchment scroll, decree" (12c.), from Medieval Latin rotulus "a roll of paper" (source also of Spanish rollo, Italian ruollo), from Latin rotula "small wheel," diminutive of rota "wheel" (see rotary).
Meaning "a register, list, catalogue" is from late 14c., common from c.1800. Meaning "dough which is rolled before baking" is first recorded mid-15c. Sense of "act of rolling" is from 1743. Meaning "quantity of material rolled up" is from late 14c.; meaning "quantity of paper money" is from 1846; sense of "quantity of (rolled) film" is from 1890. Meaning "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1942 (roll in the hay), from roll (v.). Dutch rol, German Rolle, Danish rulle, etc. are from French.