One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A school founded in 1774 by philosopher and educationist Johann Bernhard Basedow (born Johan Berend Bassedau) (1723–90) at Dessau in eastern Germany, to educate children in the principles of philanthropy, natural religion, and cosmopolitanism; (hence) any of various institutions modelled on this.
Mid 19th century. From German Philanthropinum school founded on the principles of J. B. Basedow, originally the name of his school in Dessau from Hellenistic Greek ϕιλανθρώπινον, neuter of ϕιλανθρώπινος (adjective) loving mankind, rare parallel form of ϕιλάνθρωπος, after ἀνθρώπινος human; compare -ine.
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