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A parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese in which it lies, through being subject to the jurisdiction of the monarch or an archbishop. Recorded from late Middle English (in the sense ‘particular, special’), the word comes from Latin peculiaris ‘of private property’, and ultimately from pecu ‘cattle’ (cattle being private property). The current sense ‘odd’ dates from the early 17th century.

Subjects: History.

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