One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Mineralogy. A form of schreibersite occurring as small typically rod-shaped crystals.
2Zoology. Any of the small rodlike structures which are secreted by the epidermis in turbellarians and certain other worms and dissolve to form a layer of mucus; especially (in turbellarians) a rhabdoid having a lamellate structure.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Quarterly Journal of Science. From ancient Greek ῥάβδος rod + -ite. In sense 1 after German Rhabdit. In sense 2 after French rhabdite.
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