One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A West Indian shrub, Picramnia antidesma (family Simaroubaceae), having bitter leaves and bark formerly used medicinally to treat fevers, venereal diseases, and colic.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Henry Barham (?1670–1726), botanist. From macary (of uncertain origin; compare Hausa mákáríi an antidote, mákàríi love philtre) + bitter.
macary bitter/ˈmakəri ˌbɪtə/
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