One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In full "mazagan bean". A small early variety of the broad bean, Vicia faba.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in James Justice (1698–1763). Probably from the name of Mazagan (Portuguese Mazagão, of Arabic origin; now called Al-Jadīda), Morocco, a Portuguese colony until 1769, from which beans were exported.
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