One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Green vegetation growing in a wood or forest and serving as a cover for game.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Manwood (d. 1610), legal writer. From green + a second element of uncertain identity, perhaps hew (or perhaps compare nouns derived from the same base in North Germanic languages, as Old Swedish hugh, hug (Swedish hugg), Old Danish hog, hug (Danish hug) slash, cut, stroke with a weapon), although sense 1 refers only to vegetation, not to cutting it down; alternatively the second element may perhaps show hue.
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