One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, East Asian
Middle English; earliest use found in Sawles Warde. Ultimately from the Germanic base of mathe + a diminutive suffix; compare Middle Low German mēdeke, Old Icelandic maðkr, Danish maddike, Swedish mask. It is uncertain whether the Middle English word is a loan from early Scandinavian, or represents the continuation of a native item unattested in Old English, or alternatively is an independent diminutive formation in Old English or Middle English.
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