One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An intricately decorated Easter egg of a type traditionally made in Poland and Ukraine, produced by drawing a pattern on an egg with wax and then applying dye (which cannot penetrate the areas covered by wax), then repeating this process with successive layers of wax and colours of dye, so that once all the wax is removed a multicoloured design is revealed. Also (in plural form): the craft of making such eggs.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Folklore. Partly from Ukrainian pysanka (plural pysanky; from pysaty to write, colour, paint), and partly from Polish pisanka (plural pisanki; from pisać to write, colour, paint); both verbs derive from the same base as Old Church Slavonic pĭsati to write, colour, paint.
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