One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: †a whitlow affecting a fingernail or toenail; = paronychia (obsolete). Later: disease, especially inflammation or infection, of the nail matrix, resulting in deformity or loss of the nail plate.
Early 19th century. From scientific Latin onychia from ancient Greek ὄνυχ-, ὄνυξ nail + classical Latin -ia, after post-classical Latin paronychia.
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