1640s, from Fr. catafalque (17c.), from It. catafalco "scaffold,"
from V.L. *catafalicum, from Gk. kata- "down," used in M.L. with a sense of "beside, alongside" + fala "scaffolding, wooden siege tower," said to be of Etruscan origin.
mid-14c. (implied in scaffolding), aphetic of an O.N.Fr. variant of O.Fr. eschafaut "scaffold,"
probably altered (by influence of eschace "a prop, support") from chaffaut,
from V.L. *catafalicum (see catafalque).