One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Usually with the and capital initial; also as "la Pucelle". A name given to Joan of Arc, the ‘Maid of Orleans’.
Late Middle English. From Anglo-Norman puscele, pusel, pusele, Anglo-Norman and Middle French pucele, Anglo-Norman and Middle French, French pucelle girl, maiden, virgin, prostitute, denoting Joan of Arc, further etymology uncertain and disputed; perhaps from an unattested post-classical Latin form *pullicella young girl (compare post-classical Latin pulicella, perhaps a transmission error for this; also (apparently with suffix substitution: compare -ula) pullicula (730 Lex Alamannorum)), apparently from pulla chicken, pullet + -cella, diminutive suffix. See further Französisches etymol. Wörterbuch s.v. *pullicella, Trésor de la langue française at that entry. However, for an alternative suggestion, see J. Corominas Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico s.v. poncella.
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