One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally (during the 18th cent.): a council or assembly, especially in a Dutch-speaking region of South Africa; specifically (usually with capital initial) the legislative assembly of any one of the former Boer republics (now historical). Subsequently (specifically among Afrikaans speakers): any council or board.
The electric catfish, Malapterurus electricus (family Malapteruridae), found in the Nile and in other rivers and swamps of central and western tropical Africa, and having electric cells in fatty tissue beneath the skin which are capable of delivering a powerful electric shock.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Joseph Banks (1743–1820), naturalist and patron of science. Partly from from Dutch raad council, and partly short for Volksraad<br>mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Timbs (1801–1875), author. Either from Arabic raʿʿād, lit. ‘thunderer’ or from Arabic raʿd (in samakat al-raʿd, lit. ‘thunder-fish’).
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