One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of large pelagic siphonophores including the Portuguese men-of-war; (also physalia) an animal of this genus.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Henry McMurtrie (1793–1865). From scientific Latin Physalia, genus name (J. B. P. A. de Lamarck Système des animaux sans vertèbres 355, after physalis, used as specific name (in the genus Holothuria) by Linnaeus Systema naturae from either Hellenistic Greek ϕυσαλέος inflated with wind or Hellenistic Greek ϕυσαλλίς bladder, bubble + scientific Latin -ia.
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