One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(The informal name of) a secret organization founded in London by Sir Francis Dashwood (1708–81), whose exclusively male, chiefly aristocratic members allegedly indulged in paganistic rituals, wild behaviour, and orgiastic activities; any of various clubs formed chiefly about the beginning of the 18th cent. of a similar nature.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in untitled.
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