One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The west; specifically the western part of the Mediterranean with its islands and neighbouring countries (opposed to Levant). Formerly also: †the west wind (obsolete). Usually with the and capital initial.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Elyot (c1490–1546), humanist and diplomat. From Middle French ponent west (1240 in Old French; Middle French, French ponant; the form ponent is now arch. or literary in this sense, and now regional in sense ‘west wind’) from Old Occitan ponen west, west wind, ultimately from uses as noun of present participle of classical Latin pōnere to put, place, set, lay down from po-, preverb (from the same Indo-European base as Hittite pe-, Old Church Slavonic po-, Lithuanian pa-) + sinere to put, place.
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