One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small sword or dagger worn on the belt by the ancient Greeks and (later) the Romans.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), writer. From classical Latin parazōnium dagger worn on the belt (Martial) from Hellenistic Greek παραζώνιον from ancient Greek παρα- + ζώνη girdle, belt + -ιον, diminutive suffix. Compare also Hellenistic Greek παραζωνίδιον dagger worn on the belt.
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