One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The part of an ancient Greek or Roman theatre on either side of the stage, in which props were stored and to which the actors retired.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Phillips's New World of Words. From post-classical Latin parascenium from ancient Greek παρασκήνιον one of the side-entrances to the stage, a side-scene (from παρα- + σκηνή + -ιον, neuter of -ιος, suffix forming adjectives).
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