One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A still-life painting; still life as a genre. Also figurative and in extended use: a person or painting lacking vitality.
Characteristic of or relating to a nature morte, or to the creation of such a painting. Also figurative and in extended use: sickly; lifeless.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Scribner's Monthly. From French nature morte still life as subject in painting, a still-life painting from nature + morte, feminine of mort (adjective) dead.
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