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Jul 16, 2008
This week's theme
Words related to royalty

This week's words
magna carta
royal we
morganatic
king's ransom
queen regnant

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

morganatic

PRONUNCIATION:
(mor-guh-NAT-ik)

MEANING:
adjective: Of or relating to a marriage between two people of different social ranks such that the spouse of lower rank and the children do not share the titles or possessions of the higher-ranking spouse.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin matrimonium ad morganaticam (marriage with a morning gift), implying that the gift given on the morning after the wedding was the only gift received by the wife. It was also known as a left-handed marriage because the groom held his bride's hand with his left (instead of right) hand. The word is of Germanic origin (morgen: morning, e.g. guten morgen: good morning). From a word for 'morning' to a word for a kind of marriage, that's an example of the idiosyncratic ways languages evolve.

USAGE:
"Nicholas [Sheremetev] was severely punished by society and his friends for his morganatic marriage, which was regarded as class treason."
Simon Sebag; The Serf Who Married Her Owner; The Telegraph (London, UK); Jun 20, 2008.

See more usage examples of morganatic in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One does not advance the swimming abilities of ducks by throwing the eggs in the water. -Multatuli (pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker), novelist (1820-1887)

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