One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sliding band of rope or metal attaching a spar or sail to a mast while allowing it vertical movement.
Middle English; earliest use found in Exchequer Accounts. Either aphetic from apparel, or from Middle French parail rigging, or shortened from its etymon Anglo-Norman and Old French apparail, although attested slightly earlier than any of these in the relevant sense. Compare post-classical Latin parella (c.1450).
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