One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bitter alkaloid which is one of the active principles in elaterium and other extracts from the fruit of the balsam apple Momordica charantia and related plants.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Alfred Garrod (1819–1907), physician. From scientific Latin Momordica, genus name (Linnaeus Species Plantarum II. 1009; from post-classical Latin momordica a balsam apple from classical Latin momordī, first person singular perfect indicative of mordēre to bite + -ica, on account of the appearance of the seed of the fruit) + -in.
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