One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pleasant-smelling lozenge sucked to mask bad breath.
- ‘By referring to the notes we can learn that Davitt and Parnell were two Irish politicians of the time, and that a cachou was a popular cashew candy (the brushes aren't explained).’
- ‘While in the mouth, the cachou will also help us prevent oral bacteria and confer us a fresh breath.’
- ‘The predecessors of little floral cachous were used by court ladies as breath-fresheners.’
- ‘Some of these, such as medicinal lozenges and scented cachous, have declined in popularity in the 20th century; but others, such as mints and sherbet, are still consumed enthusiastically.’
Late 16th century (in the sense ‘catechu’): from French, from Portuguese cachu, from Malay kacu. The current sense dates from the early 18th century.
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