One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(The name of) a celebrated portico decorated with paintings in the marketplace of ancient Athens.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin Poecilē from Hellenistic Greek ποικίλη, use as noun (short for ancient Greek ποικίλη στοά the many-coloured or painted porch) of ποικίλη, feminine of ποικίλος many-coloured.
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