One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Poetic= "torrid zone".
2In handwriting: the linear area whose height and position is defined by that of lower-case letters without ascenders or descenders; the area corresponding to the x-height.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Arthur Golding (d. 1606), translator. From middle + zone.
middle zone/ˈmɪdl ˌzəʊn/
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