One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, Scottish
1An enclosed area of ground; a small field or paddock, especially one close to a farmhouse. Also figurative. In early use also (occasionally): †a fence or set of hurdles for enclosing an area of ground (obsolete). Now chiefly English regional.
2Scottish. A group of people, animals, or things packed closely together; a crowd, a mob.
3Especially in Kent and Sussex: a meeting or assembly of a kind once thought to have been held in order to take account of rents and pannage. historical. Now rare.
Old English; earliest use found in The Epinal Glossary. Cognate with Middle Dutch parc, perc, paerc, parric, perric enclosed place, park, Middle Low German perk enclosure, Old High German pfarrih, pferrih pen, enclosure, hurdle (Middle High German pherrich, pferrich, pferich, pherch means of enclosure, pen, German Pferch pen, fold (for sheep, etc.); goes to pferchen to fold, pen (an animal)), further etymology uncertain and disputed; perhaps from post-classical Latin parricus, although if so par and par present difficulties, unless they are of a completely different origin (it seems unlikely that they show a borrowing from Latin *parra). In English the ending probably shows assimilation to the suffix -ock.
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