One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of a cross: having the ends of the limbs curling into divergent spirals.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Randle Holme (1627–1700), herald painter. Apparently from French recercelé (although this is first attested slightly later: 1690), specifically use of † recercelé curly, curled, use as adjective of past participle of recerceler to curl from re- + cercel ringlet.
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