E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A bag. According to tradition, it was the last word uttered before the tongues were confounded at Babel. (Saxon, sæc; German, sack; Welsh, sach; Irish, sac; French, sac; Latin, saccus; Italian, sacco; Spanish, sáco; Greek,
sakkos, Hebrew, sak; Swedish, sâck; etc., etc.)
To get the sack or To give one the sack. To get discharged by ones employer. Mechanics travelling in quest of work carried their implements in a bag or sack; when discharged, they received back the bag that they might replace in it their tools, and seek a job elsewhere. Workmen still often carry a bag of tools, but so much is done by machines that bags of tools are decreasing.
The Sultan puts into a sack, and throws into the Bosphorus, any one of his harem he wishes out of the way
There are many cognate phrases, as To give one the bag, and Get the bag, which is merely substitutional. To receive the canvas is a very old expression, referring to the substance of which the sack or bag was made. The French Trousser vos quilles (pack up your ninepins or toys) is another idea, similar to Pack up your tatters and follow the drum. (See CASHIER.)