One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A 16th- and 17th-century game in which a boxwood ball was driven through an iron ring suspended at the end of a long alley. The street Pall Mall in London was on the site of a pall-mall alley.
- ‘Every pall - mall game proved different, since players first arranged the wickets in whatever order seemed most fun or challenging.’
- ‘Pall mall was popular in Italy, France and Scotland, and spread to England in the 17th century.’
From obsolete French pallemaille, from Italian pallamaglio, from palla ‘ball’ + maglio ‘mallet’.
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