One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A fruit-bearing Egyptian tree that was formerly sacred to the god Ra, probably Mimusops schimperi (family Sapotaceae). Also "persea tree". Now historical.
2Botany. In form Persea. A genus of trees and shrubs of the family Lauraceae, found mostly in tropical America and including the avocado (P. americana); (also persea) a plant of this genus.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin persea an Egyptian tree with edible fruit from ancient Greek περσέα from Πέρσαι Persians, as the tree was thought to have come from Persia + -έα, suffix forming names of trees from names of fruits.
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