One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A man who is poor, especially one who is indigent or needy; a pauper.
2Scottish. Frequently in form peerman. A simple device for holding a splinter of resinous wood or a fir candle, formerly the ordinary source of artificial light in farmhouses, barns, and cottages. Now historical.
3Chiefly NZ. More fully poorman orange. A small form of grapefruit, used chiefly for marmalade.
Middle English; earliest use found in Ancrene Riwle. From poor + man.
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