What is the earliest attestation of its existence?
Did it originate from "crowd" or "crue"(increase)?
How was it coined?
Crew(n.) = mid-15c., "group of soldiers sent as reinforcements" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French crue, creue "an increase, recruit, military reinforcement," from fem. past participle of creistre "to grow," from Latin crescere "to arise, grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow").
"Crew" in this 1658 dictionary, The New World Of English Words.
Crew = Company, gang; as A Crew of Rogues,
1756 -- This dictionary says probably from the Anglo-Saxon "crud"(crowd).
CREW. [probably from crud, Saxon.]
- A company of people allocated for any Purpose.
- The company of a ship.
- It is now generally used in a bad sense.
1911--- "Crew", in Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. 7.
CREW (sometimes explained as a sea term of Scandinavian origin, cf. O. Icel. kru, a swarm or crowd, but now regarded as a shortened form of accrue, accrewe, used in the 16th century in the sense of a reinforcement, O. Fr. acreue, from accroitre, to grow, increase), a band or body of men associated for a definite purpose, a gang who jointly carry out a particular piece of work, and especially those who man a ship, exclusive of the captain, and sometimes also of the officers.
1641 = Crew as Company? Jovial crew or beggars.
Was "crew" and "beggars" interchangeable?