Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Pennyroyal.

 Penny Wise.Pennyweight. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Flea-bane, the odour being, as it is supposed, hateful to fleas.   1
   This is a real curiosity of blundering derivation. The Latin word is pulcium, the flea destroyer, from pulex, a flea, softened into pulègium, and corrupted into the English-Latin pule’-regium. “Pule,” changed first into puny, then into penny, gives us “penny-regium,” whence “penny-royal.” The French call the herb pouliot, from pou (a louse or flea).   2

 Penny Wise.Pennyweight. 


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