One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Greek History. A sporting contest combining wrestling and boxing. Also (occasionally) figurative.
2Botany. Any of various bulbous African, Mediterranean, and South Asian plants of the genus Pancratium (family Amaryllidaceae), bearing umbels of fragrant white flowers; especially the sea-daffodil, P. maritimum, of southern Europe. Also (in form Pancratium): the genus itself.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin pancratium and its etymon ancient Greek παγκράτιον sporting contest combining wrestling and boxing, also (on account of its supposed medicinal properties) sea-daffodil from παν- + κράτος bodily strength, mastery + -ιον, suffix forming nouns: compare παγκρατής all-powerful.
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