One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A coin of low denomination formerly used in Egypt and the Ottoman Empire: (originally) a silver half-dirham first issued in 1415 by the Mamluk Sultan al-Mu'ayyad Shaykh (at an initial weight of around 1.3 grams, but successively reduced in weight and silver content after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517); (later) a copper coin current in Egypt, Syria, etc., of approx. 6 grams, and valued at 1/40 of a piastre, or 1/20 of a penny, corresponding to the Turkish para.
Late 16th century. From Middle French, French médin from colloquial Arabic maydī (perhaps via *meyyidī, variant of mu'ayyidī) from the name of al-Mu'ayyad Šayḵ, Mamluk Sultan of Egypt + -in.
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