One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Curdled milk from the abomasum (fourth stomach) of an unweaned calf or other ruminant, containing rennin and used to curdle milk in cheese-making; (also) a preparation of the inner membrane of the abomasum used similarly; = "rennet". Now rare (English regional (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire) in later use).
Old English; earliest use found in Corpus Glossary. Cognate with or formed similarly to Dutch kaesleb, Old High German kāsilubbi (Middle High German kaeseluppe, German regional (Switzerland) chäslub), probably from the Germanic base of cheese + the Germanic base of lib.
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