One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various vetches or wild peas, especially (a) any of those constituting the genus Orobus (now united with the genus Lathyrus), chiefly distinguished by their lack of tendrils and erect habit; (in form Orobus) the genus itself; (b) the Mediterranean vetch Vicia ervilia.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in John Trevisa (c1342–?1402), translator. From post-classical Latin orobus a cultivated vetch, probably Vicia ervilia from ancient Greek ὄροβος, probably a loanword, perhaps of the same origin as classical Latin ervum vetch and ancient Greek ἐρέβινθος chickpea. Compare Italian orobo.
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