One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A kind of cotton fabric, chiefly of foreign manufacture, used especially for making waistcoats and certain church vestments.
Late Middle English. Origin uncertain. Perhaps from post-classical Latin bustianus or Anglo-Norman bustian, of uncertain origin, although corresponding forms appear in texts written in England in French, Latin, and English at a similar date, and the relationship between them is difficult to establish. Perhaps ultimately reflecting a variant or alteration of Old French butaine, butene cotton fabric from the Levant (1298; compare Middle French (Walloon) butane a common type of fabric) from Egyptian Arabic buṭāna lining of a dress or boot, colloquial variant of literary Arabic biṭāna. Perhaps compare (from Egyptian Arabic buṭāna) Italian bottana, post-classical Latin butana.
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