One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An Indian dessert consisting of rice or (in later use) vermicelli, boiled in milk or coconut milk, flavoured with cardamom, and often containing groundnuts.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Pall Mall Gazette. From Tamil pāyasam and its etymon Sanskrit pāyasa, originally in sense ‘made of milk’ from payas milk.
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