One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounAncient Greek History
1The public hall of a Greek state or city, in which a sacred fire was kept burning; especially (in ancient Athens) the hall in which distinguished citizens, foreign ambassadors, etc., were entertained at public expense.
2In ancient Athens: the presiding division of the Council of Five Hundred; the prytanes collectively.
3In extended use: a large public building; a place where people of note are assembled.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Grange (fl. 1577), poet. From classical Latin prytanēum and its etymon ancient Greek πρυτανεῖον public hall of a Greek state or city from πρύτανις + -εῖον, suffix forming nouns.
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