One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Frequently with the. (The name of) a religious house in the City of London which provided shelter, etc., for infirm or destitute priests; the fraternity of priests who lived there.
Late 15th century. Origin uncertain; probably from Papia, the name in post-classical Latin of Pavia, the town in northern Italy where the relics of St Augustine were kept.
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