The French game name merelles


 In the past, the French game name merelles (also marelles) meant, among others, morris and draughts.

 Morris kept its name merelles to the 20th century, when it was replaced by the name (jeu de) moulin, a name that rose in the 19th century.

 The game name merelles was also the name for medieval draughts on the lined board (alquerque board). In the 14th century, draughts was transferred to the chequered 64 squares board, a way to play draughts that was called  (jeu de) dames. Not everyone accepted the name dames, however, with the result that the old name merelles can still be found in 17th century dictionaries.


 Merelles did not only mean morris and draughts, it meant hopscotch too. The medieval name survived in marelle, the current name for hopscotch.


 In the 19th and 20th century, French linguists gathered the lexis of French. One of the medieval words was the game name merelles. But they made a mistake, only recording the senses morris and hopscotch and missing the sense draughts. This had consequences for the description of draughts by historians of board games.


[See for this subject Stoep 2007:121-124].