One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A toy resembling a zoetrope, in which a series of figures representing successive positions of a moving object are arranged on the inner surface of a broad, shallow, cylindrical or polygonal drum which is open at the top and has in the middle a corresponding series of mirrors in which the figures are reflected, so that when the drum is rapidly rotated, the persistence of the successive visual images produces the impression of actual motion.
Late 19th century. Apparently from French praxinoscope, irregularly from ancient Greek πρᾶξις action + French -o- + -scope, with inserted -n- (perhaps after Greek adjectives in -ινος, although the adjective formed from πρᾶξις is in fact Hellenistic Greek πράξιμος (of money) recoverable).
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