One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A lyrical song of a type popular in Portugal and Brazil from the 18th cent., originally quite simple in character but later acquiring a more elaborate musical form similar to that of an Italian operatic aria.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in William Beckford (1760–1844), writer and art collector. From Portuguese modinha from moda piece of popular music (from French mode) + -inha, diminutive suffix.
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