One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A retort or vessel used for distillation by the method of descent.
Relating to or of the nature of distillation by descent; (of a furnace) used for such distillation.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340–1400), poet and administrator. Apparently from (i) Anglo-Norman descensorie, dessensorie<br>early 17th century; earliest use found in John Woodall (1570–1643), surgeon. From post-classical Latin descensorius descending, used for distillation by descent from classical Latin dēscēns-, past participial stem of dēscendere + -ōrius.
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