One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of Autolycus; specifically characterized by thievery or subterfuge.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Academy: a monthly record of literature, learning, science, and art. From Autolycus (classical Latin Autolycus, ancient Greek Αὐτόλυκος), the name of the son of Hermes and Chione in Greek mythology, who was able to render what he touched invisible, and used this gift to commit theft; and subsequently the name of an unscrupulous trader in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale + -an.
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