One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The chief municipal officer of a French town or city; (also) the chief municipal officer of one of the arrondissements or districts of Paris.
Any of several New Zealand trees with heavy close-grained wood; especially (a) either of two forest trees of the genus Nestegis (formerly Olea), of the family Oleaceae, N. cunninghamii (more fully "black maire"), a tall tree with dark wood, and N. lanceolata (more fully "white maire"); (b) Mida salicifolia, of the family Santalaceae, a forest tree with leathery leaves; (c) Syzygium (formerly Eugenia) maire, of the family Myrtaceae, a tree of swampy ground with edible red berries.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Horace Walpole (1717–1797), author, politician, and patron of the arts. From French maire<br>mid 19th century; earliest use found in The London Medical Gazette. From Maori maire, the name for Olea cunninghamii and other species of Olea, and also occurring as the first element in the names of other trees and shrubs.
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