French masc. definite article (including the old neuter), fem. la, from Latin ille "he, that," used in Late Latin and Medieval Latin as the definite article. Cognate with Spanish el. Latin ille "that," illa "by that way, there," replaced Old Latin olle/ollus, perhaps by analogy with iste [de Vaan]; from PIE *hol-no- "that, yonder."
updated on October 14, 2021