One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any additional item that follows a main work; (Theatre) an additional entertainment, spoken or sung, usually but not invariably comic, intended to be performed after a play or other theatrical work (now historical).
2Nautical. A piece of timber attached to the main-piece of a rudder; the heel of a rudder. Also: the part of a ship's keel nearest to the stern. Now chiefly historical.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Henry More (1614–1687), philosopher, poet, and theologian. From after- + piece.
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