One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a defence or screen made of pavises or other shields joined in a continuous line (either in land warfare or on board ship). In later use also: a screen of canvas erected around the sides of a ship to protect and conceal the crew.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From Middle French, French pavesade from Italian pavesata from pavese + -ata.
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