One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Especially in French contexts: the game of draughts.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Sir Ferumbras. Apparently originally from Middle French jeu de dames (French jeu de dames) the game of draughts (although this is first attested later in this sense: 1508; however, compare Old French jeu madame draughts, and also Anglo-Norman jeu as dames denoting a chess strategy in which the queen plays a central role) from jeu game, play + de + dames, plural of dame. In later use reborrowed from French jeu de dames.
jeu de dames/ˌʒəː də ˈdam/
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