One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small silver coin in medieval Europe; specifically (a) an English halfpenny; (b) a small French coin (originally of silver, later of billon) in use from the 10th to 15th centuries and having the value of half a denier (also called a maille). Also (more generally): any coin of low value.
Mid 16th century. From Anglo-Norman obole halfpenny and Middle French, French obole small French coin, type of small weight, ancient Greek coin from classical Latin obolus.
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