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Any of several small marine oysters of the genus Pinctada, especially P. fucata, cultivated in Japan, China, and elsewhere for the production of cultured pearl. Also: a pearl so produced, typically round, white, and lustrous. Usually attributive as Akoya oyster, pearl, etc.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in John Scheuchzer (1702–1729), physician and naturalist. From German Akoja and (in later use) its etymon Japanese akoya, short for akoya-dama akoya pearl from Akoya, the former name of Honda, a coastal town in the Aichi prefecture, Japan (known for the abundance in pearl oysters in its bay) + -dama, combining form of tama ball, gem, bead.
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The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.