One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(The festival of) the Pythian games; (also) a period of four-years measured from one celebration of the Pythian games to the next. Compare "Olympiad".
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From ancient Greek Πυθιαδ-, Πυθιάς the Pythian games from Πύθια the Pythian games, use as noun (short for Πύθια ἱερά the Pythian games) of neuter plural of Πύθιος Delphic + -άς. Compare Middle French, French Pythiades.
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