One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several shrubs or small trees of southern Africa having hooked prickles, especially the densely spiny blackthorn, Acacia mellifera subsp. detinens.
Mid 19th century. From South African Dutch haakdoorn, with remodelling of the second element after thorn; the first element may perhaps partly reflect folk-etymological association with hack.
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