One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1with object To puzzle, mystify, confound.
2with object To puzzle out. Now rare.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Tom a Lincoln. From Middle French, French matagraboliser from ancient Greek μάταιος vain + Middle French -graboliser from grabeler to sift (1439; later used fig. in sense ‘to examine closely’; from Middle French grabel sieve, perhaps from Catalan garbell or Italian garbello, both from Arabic ġirbāl from post-classical Latin cribellum from classical Latin cribrum sieve + -ellum) + -iser; compare garble.
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