One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Italy and Italian-speaking contexts: a chamberlain or treasurer; specifically (a) the Pope's chamberlain and financial secretary; (b) the treasurer of the Sacred College of cardinals (now historical).
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Lithgow (1582–c1645), traveller. From Italian camerlengo (also † camarlengo, † camarlingo, (now rare) camerlingo) treasurer, chamberlain of the Pope, treasurer of the Sacred College of cardinals from either Old High German chamarlinc, chamarling, chamerling or Middle High German kammerlinc.
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