Etymology
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macula (n.)

plural maculae, "a spot, blotch," especially on the skin or eye, c. 1400, from Latin macula "spot, stain," used of various spots (sunspots, markings on minerals, etc.), from Proto-Italic *smalto-, which is of uncertain origin. The macula lutea of the eye, the yellow spot of the retina opposite the pupil (the position of the most distinct vision), is from 1848.

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macule (n.)

"blemish, spot," late 15c., from Latin macula "a spot, stain" (see macula), perhaps via French macule. Compare macle.

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macular (adj.)

by 1806, "spotted, exhibiting or characterized by spots," from macula "a spot" + -ar. Meaning "pertaining to the macula lutea of the eye is by 1873.

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macle (n.)

also mackle, "a spot, a blemish," 1706, from French macle "a spot," from Latin macula (see macula). Also as a verb (1590s). Related: Macled; mackled; mackling.

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maculate (adj.)

"spotted, marked with spots," late 15c., from Latin maculatus, past participle of maculare "to make spotted, to speckle," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). Maculate conception is attested by 1756.

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maquette (n.)

"artist's preliminary model or sketch," 1903, from French maquette (18c.), from Italian macchietta "speck," diminutive of macchia "spot," from macchiare "to stain," from Latin maculare "to make spotted, to speckle," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). From 1893 as a French word in English.

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maculate (v.)

early 15c., maculaten "to spoil, pollute, defile," from Latin maculatus, past participle of maculare "to make spotted, to speckle," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). Literal meaning "to spot, stain" is by 1640s. Related: Maculated; maculating.

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maquis (n.)

"dense scrub or brushwood in a Mediterranean land," 1858, from French maquis "undergrowth, shrub," especially in reference to the dense scrub of certain Mediterranean coastal regions, long the haunts of outlaws and fugitives, from Corsican Italian macchia "spot," from Latin macula "spot, stain" (see macula). The landscapes were so called from their mottled appearance. Used figuratively of French resistance in World War II (1943). A member is a maquisard.

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maculation (n.)

late 15c., maculacioun, "sexual defilement, sinning," from Latin maculationem (nominative maculatio) "a spotting," noun of action from past-participle stem of maculare "to make spotted," from macula "spot, stain" (see macula). In English, the literal meaning "act of spotting, a staining with spots, state of being spotted, pattern of spots on a plant or animal" is by 1707. Nares, in his "Glossary" of Shakespeare's words (1822) calls it "an uncommon word, not so properly obsolete, as never thoroughly in use."

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mackerel (n.)

edible fish of the North Atlantic (Scomber scombrus), c. 1300, from Old French maquerel "mackerel" (Modern French maquereau), of unknown origin; perhaps so called from the dark blotches with which the fish is marked, from Latin macula "spot, stain" (see macula). But the word is apparently identical with Old French maquerel "pimp, procurer, broker, agent, intermediary" (itself attested in English in this sense by early 15c.), a word from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch makelaer "broker," from Old Frisian mek "marriage," from maken "to make").

The connection would be obscure, but medieval people had imaginative notions about the erotic habits of beasts. The fish approach the shore in shoals in summertime to spawn. Compare ancient Greek aitnaios "an unknown fish celebrated for its marital constancy;" alphēstēs, the wrasse, "a fish with a singular and unsavoury reputation ... a byword for the incontinent and lewd" (both in Thompson, who also notes that the hermaphroditic nature of certain fishes, discovered by modern naturalists, was known to Aristotle). The exclamation holy mackerel is attested from 1876.

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