One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The Barbary ape, Macaca sylvana.
2A grotesque Chinese or Japanese figurine, represented in a sitting position, of porcelain, ivory, wood, etc.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Edward Topsell (d. 1625), Church of England clergyman and author. From Middle French, French magot, probably alteration of the biblical name Magog: see further Trésor de la Langue Française s.v.
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