Thursday, March 31, 2011


Matrimony \MAT-ri-mohn-ee\
1. The right or sacrament of marriage; the act of marrying
2. The state or condition of being married; the relation between married persons

This word is decidedly French, coming from Ango-Norman matermoine which derives from 14th century Middle French matremoine (both have more than one spelling variation). The Old French version of the word conveyed a sense of "property inherited from one's mother". The word in Classical Latin is matrimonium ("state of being married") from the combination of matri + monium ("mother" from mater + "money").

There's also a word patrimony that dates to the mid-14th with the meaning "property of the Church" and "spiritual legacy of Christ." It comes from Old French patrimonie which derives from Latin patrimonium ("a paternal estate, inheritance"). The Latin word is a combination of pater + monium ("fater" from patris + "action, state, condition"). The sense of "property inherited from a father or ancestor" dates to the late 14th century. The figurative sense of "immaterial things handed down from the past" dates to the 1580's.

No comments:

Post a Comment