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I'm betting that this goes all the way back to PIE by way of Latin--there are club-wielding gods with names that sound like "Percuss" all over Eurasia. Anybody else got better data?

The per- part is actually a prefix. The word derives ultimately from Latin per- + quatiō. I've added an etymology now. —CodeCat 02:52, 1 November 2012 (UTC)