One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rabbinical and kabbalistic method of interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures by making words from letters taken from the beginning, middle, or end of the words in a sentence; (more generally) a method of forming a word in this way, or of interpreting a word as having been so constructed.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From post-biblical (Mishnaic) Hebrew nōṭārīqōn shorthand, abbreviation and its etymon medieval Greek νοταρικόν, use as noun of Byzantine Greek νοταρικός secretarial from νοτάριος shorthand writer, secretary + -ικός.
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