One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The oil-yielding seed of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum subsp. somniferum, which is typically blue-grey and is used to feed cage birds; a seed of this type.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Weekly Journal. From German † Mah, † Moh poppy (German Mohn; Middle High German māhen, Old High German māhen, cognate with Dutch maan poppy-seed, Dutch regional (Holland) māne, Old Saxon māho poppy (Middle Low German mān, maen), all perhaps ultimately from the same base as meconium) + seed, probably after a later reflex of Middle High German māge-sāt; compare German regional (Silesia) Moh-saat, German Magsame.
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