One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Of many different colours; especially multicoloured, variegated.
2Originally and chiefly US. Consisting entirely of black, especially African-American, people; (during the era of racial segregation in the United States) intended for the use of African Americans exclusively.
3South African. Usually with capital initial in the second element. Consisting entirely of Coloured people; (during the period of apartheid) intended for the use of Coloured people exclusively.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Joshua Sylvester (d. 1618), poet and translator. Probably partly from all + coloured, and partly from all + coloured.
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