One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Formerly generally: (of an animal) spotted, speckled, dappled. Now only: specifically (of a deer) having pale fawn fur with white spots (also in extended use). Also as noun: a deer with such colouring.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Randle Cotgrave (fl. 1587–?1630), lexicographer. Origin uncertain; probably related to meanel, though the precise relationship between the words is unclear. Perhaps compare also mailed.
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