One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who lives by the sea; specifically (in ancient Greece) a member of a people living on the coast near Athens in the 6th cent.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Duke of Wharton (1698–1731), rake and politician. From ancient Greek Παράλιος a member of a people living on the coast of Attica (usually as plural, Παράλιοι), use as noun of masculine singular of παράλιος (adjective) by the sea, maritime (from παρα- + ἁλ-, ἅλς sea + -ιος, suffix forming adjectives) + -an. Compare ancient Greek Παραλία the maritime district or seaboard of Attica, use as noun (short for παραλία γῆ or παραλία χῶρα) of feminine singular of παράλιος (adjective).
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