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1787 as a term in botany; 1867 as a term in printing and publication; diminutive of leaf (n.)
A newspaperman asked the British authorities for a copy of the leaflets distributed in Germany by British airplanes. According to the London Daily Herald, his request was refused with the following answer: "Copies are not given out, as they might fall into enemy hands." ["The Living Age" magazine, Sept. 1939-Feb. 1940]