One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A specially cherished or beloved girl or woman, a sweetheart. Frequently as a term of endearment. In later use also as a term of contempt. Now archaic.
2A specially cherished or beloved man or boy. Now archaic.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340–1400), poet and administrator. From the genitive of pig + nye, variant of eye; probably originating in children's talk or as a nursery endearment.
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