The term “linting” originates from fabric lint-rollers that help remove fluff from clothing. In the same way, a code “linter” helps the developer remove fluff from their code.
The first linting tool was developed for the C programming language when early compilers were not sophisticated enough to identify common programming errors. As the language and compilers matured, so the C linter became redundant and obsolete.
A similar tool, jshint exists. It was forked from JSLint.
In the words of its creator:
JSLint will hurt your feelings.