One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a charter, especially one of a general character, or confirming all special grants. In later use: a written record of any kind.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Abraham Fleming (c1552–1607), author, literary editor, and Church of England clergyman. From post-classical Latin pancharta, pancarta a charter, especially one confirming rights and property from ancient Greek παν- + classical Latin charta leaf, paper, in post-classical Latin also ‘charter’.
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