One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Chiefly in plural Ashes produced by the burning of various organic substances, specifically woad plants (Isatis tinctoria), tartar left in empty wine casks, or wood. Also: a type of crude potash obtained from such ashes, especially used in dyeing cloth, wool, etc., and to make lye.
Late Middle English. From woad + ash, probably after Middle Dutch weedassche (Dutch weedas) and Middle Low German wēdassche.
woad ash/ˈwəʊd aʃ/
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