One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Of an acid: having more than one replaceable hydrogen atom per molecule, or two or more carboxylic acid groups. Formerly also: †designating a salt of such an acid (obsolete).
2Of an alcohol: containing two or more hydroxyl groups per molecule; polyhydric.
3Of the nature of a polybase; consisting of several or many bases.
Mid 19th century. From poly- + basic.
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