One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An explanation or theory which can be made to fit all cases, being used in such a variety of ways as to become meaningless.
Early 17th century (in an earlier sense). From Hellenistic Greek πάγχρηστον universal remedy, use as noun of neuter singular of ancient Greek πάγχρηστος good for everything from παν- + χρηστός useful. Compare classical Latin panchrēstos, panchrēstus good for everything, panchrēstum medicāmentum universal remedy (Cicero and Pliny).
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