One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Treated as plural. Linear fissures, crevices, or scars of the skin, especially around the anus or mouth.
Old English; earliest use found in Pseudo-Apuleius' Herbarium. Partly from classical Latin rhagades fissures, cracks from ancient Greek ῥαγάδες, plural of ῥαγάς fissure (of soil), in Hellenistic Greek also crack or chap (of the skin) from ῥαγ-, aorist stem of ῥηγνύναι to break, burst + -άς; and partly from classical Latin rhagadia (also ragadia) (neuter plural; compare also post-classical Latin rhagadiae, ragadiae, feminine plural (636 in Isidore; 1250 in a British source)), in same sense from the plural of an unattested Greek form *ῥαγάδιον from ancient Greek ῥαγαδ-, ῥαγάς + -ιον, diminutive suffix.
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