One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Spain and Spanish-speaking areas: a cigarette, especially one which is hand-rolled.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Richard Ford (1796–1858), art connoisseur and author. From Spanish papelito slip of paper, bit of paper (e.g. for rolling cigarettes) from papel + -ito; the sense in English may arise from confusion with Spanish papelillo cigarette, with a different suffix ( -illo: see -illa).
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