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What is the word history of pencil?
A pencil originally was a fine paintbrush of fine hair (camel, fitch, sable, etc.) and appeared in English c. 1386. The word comes from Old French pincel, from penicillum, a diminutive of Latin peniculus 'brush', which ultimately derived as a diminutive of Latin penis 'tail'. In English, it was first written pencel. By 1612, the word referred to the writing and drawing instrument employing lead (graphite, plumbago), chalk, charcoal, or other material enclosed in a cylinder of soft wood, etc. Pencil-case, however, was first recorded in print in 1552 - but it referred to a case for graphite lead, not pencils as the writing instrument.