One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large surf-boat used on the Coromandel Coast of south-east India, especially for conveying passengers and goods between ships and the shore.
Late 17th century. Origin uncertain; perhaps from Marathi māsḷī or Konkani māsḷī fish, via Telugu and Tamil pronunciation. The -la form may represent an inferred singular based on such Europeanized forms as Portuguese maçules (plural, 1580) and Italian masudi (plural, 1582 in C. Federici Raccolta Viaggi (whence the English form Masady in the translation by T. Hiscock); probably an error for *masuli).
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