One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hard, dark-coloured, fine-grained basaltic rock from Rowley Hill near Birmingham, England, formerly used for paving and in building work.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From the names of RowleyRegis, a town near Birmingham, England and RowleyHill, the hill on which the town is located, and from which the stone was quarried + rag.
Rowley rag/ˌraʊli ˈraɡ/
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