Italian: from a personal name, Greek Pantaleōn, from pas ‘all’ (genitive pantos) + leōn ‘lion’. In the altered form Panteleēmōn (from pas ‘all’ (genitive pantos) + eleēmōn ‘merciful’), it was the name borne by a saint said to have been martyred under Diocletian Nicomedia. He is the patron of physicians, having apparently been one himself. He was honored in the Eastern Church as early as the 5th century, but his cult did not reach the Western Church until the 11th century, when he was adopted as the patron saint of Venice. In the 14th century the Italian name Pantaleone came to be used for a character in the Harlequinade, a foolish old Venetian, and in some later cases the surname may have arisen as a nickname for someone who played the part of this character. It was from his prototypical costume that the term pantaloon came to be used to denote a type of loose-fitting breeches, whence the modern English word pants.