One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A durable woollen fabric widely made and used in England during the 17th and 18th centuries. Now historical.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Ben Jonson (?1573–1637), poet and playwright. Apparently from perpetual, with an arbitrary ending. Compare French perpétuane thick, durable cloth made in Portugal and England, Spanish perpetuán thick, durable woollen cloth, Portuguese perpetuana, perhaps all ultimately from the English word.
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