One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Italy and France: a pawnbroking establishment instituted and run by the state for providing loans to the poor at low interest. Now only with allusion to the Italian or French terms.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Fynes Moryson (?1566–1630), traveller and writer. From mount + of + piety, after Italian monte di pietà Monte di Pietà or French mont de piété Mont de Piété.
Mount of Piety/ˌmaʊnt əv ˈpʌɪɪti/
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