One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A receptacle or structure containing air; especially an air chamber in a hydraulic pump.
2Biology. A cavity, sac, or channel in a living organism which contains air; especially a trachea or respiratory tube in an insect; an air-filled bladder in an alga.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Henry Oldenburg (c1619–1677), scientific correspondent and secretary of the Royal Society. From air + vessel.
air vessel/ˈɛː ˌvɛsl/
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