1771, from Spanish or American Spanish oregano, from Latin origanus, origanum, from Greek oreiganon, from oros "mountain" (see oread) + ganos "brightness, ornament." The older form of the word in English was the Latin-derived origanum (mid-13c.), also origan (early 15c.). In Europe, the dried leaves of wild marjoram; in America, a different, and more pungent, shrub.
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