One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Grotesque or absurd ornamentation, carving, or pictures; an example of this.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340–1400), poet and administrator. Originally perhaps a variant (with loss of medial -n-) of baboonery. In later use probably originally a variant of the some forms with reduction of the second syllable, probably reinforced by reanalysis as showing babe or baby + -ery.
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