One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The fragrant kernels of the fruits of a Eurasian cherry, Prunus mahaleb, which are used in perfumery; the tree itself (also called St Lucie cherry), which has hard scented wood and is used as a dwarf grafting-stock for cherries.
Mid 16th century. From Middle French, French mahaleb, † macalep, † macaleb from Arabic maḥlab, denoting the tree, its fruit, and the kernels of the fruit.
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