One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: any of several small, brightly-coloured serranid fishes found in the Mediterranean and referred to by classical authors; especially the swallowtail sea perch, Anthias anthias. In later use: any of numerous small serranid fishes of the subfamily Anthiinae, many of which swarm on coral reefs, are brightly coloured, and are popular with aquarists.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin anthiās from ancient Greek ἀνθίας, of uncertain origin; perhaps from ἄνθος flower + -ίας, suffix forming nouns and adjectives; perhaps so called on account of its rich colours.
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