late 13c., "coarse cloth;" mid-14c., "tablecloth, bedspread;" from Old French carpite "heavy decorated cloth, carpet," from Medieval Latin or Old Italian carpita "thick woolen cloth," probably from Latin carpere "to card, pluck," probably so called because it was made from unraveled, shreded, "plucked" fabric; from PIE *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest" (see harvest (n.)). Meaning shifted 15c. to floor coverings.
From 16c.-19c. as an adjective often with a tinge of contempt, when used of men (e.g. carpet-knight, 1570s) by association with luxury, ladies' boudoirs, and drawing rooms. On the carpet "summoned for reprimand" is 1900, U.S. colloquial (but cf. carpet (v.) "call (someone) to be reprimanded," 1823, British servants' slang). To sweep or push something under the carpet in the figurative sense is first recorded 1953.
"to cover with a carpet," 1620s, from carpet (n.). Meaning "call to reprimand" is from 1840. Related: Carpeted; carpeting.