One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The long pointed toe of a shoe made in a style fashionable in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in John Palsgrave (d. 1554), teacher and scholar of languages. From Anglo-Norman poleine and Middle French, French (now hist.) poulaine, use as noun of feminine of poulain (adjective) Polish, the shoes and their characteristic long toe being so called on account of their supposed Polish origin.
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