One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A spongy substance made by drying certain bracket fungi and formerly used as an absorbent in medicine, as tinder, and for drying fishing flies.
- ‘From the early medieval period until the invention of the match a treated fungus product called amadou was widely used to speed the process.’
- ‘Most fly fishermen have heard of amadou, the fungus traditionally used to expel moisture from dry flies.’
- ‘The traditional method to prepare amadou as tinder is to fill a pot with the fungus and to add enough strong urine to cover it.’
Late 18th century: from French, from Latin amator ‘lover’ (because it easily ignites).
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