One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Botany. A sharply pointed projection on a plant, such as a thorn or a spine; especially one growing directly from the epidermis or forming an extension of it.
Zoology. The sting of an insect or other animal.
Early 17th century (in an earlier sense). From classical Latin acūleus sting, spine, thorn, barb, spike, prick, pang from acus needle + -leus, suffix forming diminutives.
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