One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A kind of white linen made in Silesia; a piece of this.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in William Dampier (1651–1715), buccaneer and explorer. From Spanish platilla, probably from plata silver + -illa, with reference to the silvery-white colour of the textile. The Spanish word was apparently coined by Spanish merchants who worked in the export business in Germany or France: see further R. Vidos 1951, in Revista portuguesa de filologia 4 269.
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