Flea-bane, the odour being, as it is supposed, hateful to
fleas This is a real curiosity of blundering derivation. The Latin word
is pulecium, the flea destroyer, from pulex, a flea,
softened into pulegium, 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).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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