One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A thing adapted to several different uses. Now especially: a homeopathic drug used to treat a variety of diseases.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Thomas Blount (1618–1679), antiquary and lexicographer. From post-classical Latin polychrestum thing adapted to several different uses from Hellenistic Greek πολύχρηστον, use as noun of neuter of ancient Greek πολύχρηστος useful for many purposes from πολυ- + χρηστός useful.
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