One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A marker made of grass, leaves, a twig, etc., left purposely by a Gypsy to indicate the direction taken.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in George Whyte-Melville (1821–1878), novelist and poet. From Welsh Romani patrin leaf, patrin from Balkan Romani patrí from Sanskrit patrikā, diminutive of patra leaf, feather.
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