LINK, (i) (Of Scandinavian origin; cf. Swed. lank, Dan. laenke; cognate with " flank," and Ger. Gelenk, joint), one of the loops of which a chain is composed; used as a measure of length in surveying, being 1 -^j th part of a "chain." In Gunter's chain, a "link"= 7-92 in.; the chain used by American engineers consists of 100 links of a foot each in length (for " link work " and " link motions " see MECHANICS: Applied, and STEAM ENGINE). The term is also applied to anything used for connecting or binding together, metaphorically or absolutely. (2) (O. Eng. Mine, possibly from the root which appears in " to lean "), a bank or ridge of rising ground; in Scots dialect, in the plural, applied to the ground bordering on the sea-shore, characterized by sand and coarse grass; hence a course for playing golf. (3) A torch made of pitch or tow formerly carried in the streets to light passengers, by men or boys called " linkboys " who plied for hire with them. Iron link-stands supporting a ring in which the link might be placed may still be seen at the doorways of old London houses. The word is of doubtful origin. It has been referred to a Med. Lat. lichinus, which occurs in the form linchinus (see Du Cange, Glossarium) ; this, according to a isth-century glossary, meant a wick or match. It is an adaptation of Gr. \vxvos, lamp. Another suggestion connects it with a supposed derivation of " linstock," from " lint." The New English Dictionary thinks the likeliest suggestion is to identify the word with the " link " of a chain. The tow and pitch may have been manufactured in lengths, and then cut into sections or " links."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)