One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In singular and plural Any of various birds with red or orange legs; especially the red-legged partridge, Alectoris rufa.
2In plural and singular British regional. Either of two persicarias that characteristically have reddish stems, bistort (Persicaria bistorta), and redshank or spotted persicaria (P. maculosa).
3A disease of frogs and other amphibians characterized by erythema of the ventral surface of the hind legs, often with skin ulceration and systemic haemorrhages, typically resulting from bacterial or fungal septicaemia.
4Caribbean (Barbados). Chiefly derogatory and offensive. Frequently with capital initial(s) and in plural A poor white person; specifically one descended from white slaves or convicts transported to Barbados in the 17th cent.
5US. A member of a group of Unionist guerrilla raiders based in Kansas during the U.S. Civil War. Now historical.
6US Military. An artilleryman (in allusion to the red stripe formerly worn on the outside seams of artillerymens' trousers).
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. From red + leg.
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