One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
More fully "nut metel", "metel nut", "nut of metel". A poisonous fruit or seed with narcotic properties, variously identified with nux vomica (the fruit of Strychnos nux-vomica) or with the fruit of a species of thorn apple (genus Datura). Now historical.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Paynell (d. ?1564), translator. From post-classical Latin methel from Arabic māṯil (in jawz (nut) māṯil), of uncertain origin.
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