One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Christian Church. The ceremonial washing of a person's feet (after the example of Jesus at the Last Supper), either at baptism, before Holy Communion, or as part of the observance of Maundy Thursday.
Early 18th century (in an earlier sense). From post-classical Latin pedilavium footbath from classical Latin pedi- + lavāre + -ium.
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