One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A black woollen cloak worn by monks.
Late 18th century. From Hellenistic Greek μανδύας woollen cloak (in ancient Greek in form μανδύης in a fragment of Aristophanes), in Byzantine Greek in sense ‘monk's cloak’; probably a loanword: regarded by ancient authors as either a Persian or a Liburnian (Illyrian) word.
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