One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEcology Physical Geography
A region of limestone pavement or plain with little or no soil and vegetation, occurring chiefly in Sweden and Estonia in Europe and in parts of the northern United States and Canada.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Baedeker's Norway & Sweden. From Swedish alvar, † alfvar from Swedish regional (Öland) alvar, alver, (Gotland) alver, alvar, alvur, related to Swedish alf, alv kind of (hard) subsoil, cognate with Danish al, in the same sense (also Old Danish aluaer), and apparently further with German regional (Bavaria) Alben kind of chalk soil, probably ultimately from the same Indo-European base as classical Latin albus white.
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