One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of various tropical American shrubs or trees yielding a medicinal bark; especially Bowdichia virgilioides (family Fabaceae (Leguminosae)), used also for timber. Also: the bark of these trees or a medicinal preparation made from it (and other parts of the tree), supposed to act as an anti-inflammatory, or the timber itself.
2The cork oak, Quercus suber. Also: the bark of this, formerly used in tanning and occasionally medicinally. Now rare.
Early 19th century. From Spanish alcornoque, † alconorque cork oak, bark of the cork oak, in American Spanish also denoting various trees yielding a similar product, as well as their bark from an unattested Spanish Arabic form from Arabic al the + an unattested post-classical Latin form *quernoccus from post-classical Latin quernus oak + an unattested post-classical Latin suffix *-occus, forming nouns with pejorative connotation (goes to Spanish -ueco, suffix forming nouns with pejorative connotation).
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