One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A variety of granite occurring in the Alps, containing chlorite and often having a foliated structure resembling that of gneiss, which was formerly thought to be part of the original crust of the earth.
Early 19th century. From French protogine, irregularly from proto- + ancient Greek γίγνεσθαι (also γίνεσθαι) to be born or produced, intended to express ‘first-produced’, the rock being assumed to be the most ancient of all.
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