One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Thin gauze muslin.
Early 17th century: from Old French tifanie, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek theophaneia ‘epiphany’. The word is usually taken to be short for Epiphany silk or muslin, i.e., that worn on Twelfth Night, but may be a humorous allusion to epiphany in the sense ‘manifestation’ (because tiffany is semitransparent).
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