One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A toga with a purple border, originally the distinguishing garment of a magistrate (also sometimes of a priest), but later also of a boy until entitled to the toga virilis, and of a girl until her marriage.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin praetexta toga with a purple border, use as noun (short for toga praetexta) of past participle feminine of praetexere to fringe, border. Compare French prétexte.
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