One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Lack of the necessities of life; poverty, need, want. Now historical.
Middle English; earliest use found in Trinity Cambridge Manuscript. From Anglo-Norman meseise, mesaise, miseise, Old French meseise, mesaise, messaise trouble, difficulty, discomfort, affliction from mes- + aise. The specifically sense ‘poverty, need, want’ appears to be an English development; with the sense ‘lack of the necessities of life’ compare Anglo-Norman miseise in 13th cent. apparently in sense ‘physical privation’.
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