One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounAncient Greek History
1In ancient Athens: a member of the presiding division of the Council of Five Hundred.
2The presiding magistrate of an ancient Greek city or state.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas North (1535–?1603), translator. From classical Latin prytanis magistrate in certain Greek cities, and its etymon ancient Greek πρύτανις (plural πρυτάνεις) prince, ruler, chief, at Athens a president, of unknown origin; perhaps a loanword from an Indo-European language of Asia Minor. Originally via Middle French pritane, pritanne.
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