One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A kind of coat formerly worn by North American Indians, originally made of furs, later of coarse woollen cloth (as supplied by white traders).
Early 17th century; earliest use found in John Smith (bap. 1580, d. 1631), soldier and colonial governor. From Virginia Algonquian matchkore deerskin robe from Proto-Algonquian *mat- (empty root) + *-ixtoθ- robe, blanket. The oldest recorded form matchcore reflects the etymon; the predominant later form shows assimilation of the final syllable to coat by folk etymology.
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