Etymology
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Malta 

Mediterranean island, from Latin Melite, perhaps from Phoenician melita, literally "place of refuge," from malat "he escaped." It formerly belonged to the Knights Hospitaller (Knights of Malta) from 1530-1798.

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Maltese 

1610s, "native or inhabitant of Malta;" 1797 (adj.) "of or pertaining to Malta, from Malta + -ese. Maltese cross is from 1754 (earlier Malta cross, 1650s), so called because it was worn by the Knights of Malta. Maltese cat is attested from 1830: any cat with fur completely or primarily gray or blue, supposedly a common trait among cats on the island, but the breeds that noted for this coloring are not associated with Malta. As a type of very small dog, known since ancient times in the Mediterranean, it is attested in English by 1803.

Strabo informs us, that "there is a town in Pachynus, a promontory of Sicily, (called Meleta,) from whence are transported many fine little dogs, called Melitae Canes. They were accounted the jewels of women; but now the said town is possessed by fishermen, and there is no such reckoning made of those tender little dogs, which are not bigger than common ferrets or weasels; yet are they not small in understanding, nor unstable in their love to men, for which cause they are also nourished tenderly for pleasure." [Capt. Thomas Brown, "Biographical Sketches and Authentic Anecdotes of Dogs," Edinburgh, 1829]
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gremlin (n.)

"small imaginary creature blamed for mechanical failures," oral use in R.A.F. aviators' slang from Malta, the Middle East and India is said to date to 1923. First printed use perhaps in poem in journal "Aeroplane" April 10, 1929; certainly in use by 1941, and popularized in World War II and picked up by Americans (for example New York Times Magazine April 11, 1943). Of unknown origin. OED says "probably formed by analogy with GOBLIN." Speculations in Barnhart are a possible dialectal survival of Old English gremman "to anger, vex" + the -lin of goblin; or Irish gruaimin "bad-tempered little fellow." Surfer slang for "young surfer, beach trouble-maker" is from 1961 (short form gremmie by 1962).

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