One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The plant butcher's broom, Ruscus aculeatus.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Turner (d. 1568), naturalist and religious controversialist. Apparently from petty + Occitan greu holly, aphetic from agreu (Old Occitan agrefol) from post-classical Latin acrifolus, variant of acrifolium; compare classical Latin aquifolium. Compare Catalan grèvol.
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