One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sandstone of the northern Apennines that has been used in northern Italy as a building stone; (Geology, usually with capital initial) rock belonging to a Tertiary sequence of thick sandstone and interlayered mudstones, found in the northern Apennines and thought to have formed as turbidites in an ocean trench; also attributive, designating this sequence.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Henry Thomas De la Beche (1796–1855), geologist. From Italian macigno stone used for millstones from a vulgar Latin derivative of classical Latin māchina in specific sense ‘mill’ (in post-classical Latin, millstone; compare Italian macina millstone).
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