One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Sickly, weak, delicate; defective in some respect; (especially of a lamb or a child) undersized, stunted in growth.
An undersized or sickly lamb.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Robert Fergusson (1750–1774), poet. Origin uncertain. Sc. National Dict s.v. palie adj.1, n. suggests derivation ultimately from a variant of pale or pall.
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