One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Botany and Chemistry. Originally: cork; the outer bark or periderm of the cork oak. In later use: a waxy material forming the outer layer of the periderm in parts of certain other plants, comprised of tightly packed suberized cells. Now rare.
Late 16th century (in an earlier sense). From classical Latin sūber cork oak, the bark of this, of unknown origin.
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