One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, East Anglian
Chiefly in place names: a place where two or more roads meet, a crossroads or other road junction. Usually with the number of roads specified by a preceding numeral, especially in "three-releet", "four-releet".
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Edward Moor (1771–1848), writer on Hindu mythology. Apparently from -releet in threereleet, foureleet, by metanalysis; the latter representing respectively the reflexes of the Old English genitive phrases *þrēora gelǣte, lit. ‘junction of three (ways)’ and *fēowera gelǣte, lit. ‘junction of four (ways)’, short for þrēora wega gelǣte and fēowera wega gelǣte: see leet. See further W. W. Skeat in Academy 2 Mar. 190, G. Watson ‘Dialect Survivals of Anglo-Saxon Inflection’ in Jrnl. Eng. & Germanic Philol 35 52.
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