One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Designating the extremities or peripheral parts of the body, especially the hands and feet (or forefeet and hind feet), tip of the nose, and ears; of, relating to, or affecting these parts.
Early 20th century. From ancient Greek ἄκρος highest, topmost + -al, after Hellenistic Greek ἀκράλεα extremities of the body (rare: see note), use as noun of neuter plural of an otherwise unattested adjective ἀκράλεος from ancient Greek ἄκρος + -αλεος, suffix forming adjectives (common in medical vocabulary).
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