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A.Word.A.Day--Boston marriage

Pronunciation RealAudio

Boston marriage (BOS-tuhn MAR-ij, BAW-stuhn -) noun

A long-term, intimate friendship between two women, often sharing a household.

[After Boston (and other areas in the Northeast US) where such arrangements occurred during the 19th century. Perhaps popularized by Henry James's 1886 novel The Bostonians that portrayed such relationships.]

"Boston marriage of Miss Woolley and Miss Marks, for example, was intensely passionate, as their letters show." Elspeth Cameron; Heart to Heart; Chatelaine (Toronto, Canada); Oct 1997.

"Frances, for her part, saved her own endearments for her lifelong friend, Mildred Minturn, with whom she had a kind of Boston marriage at Bryn Mawr." The Craftsman And the Nihilist; The New Republic (Washington, DC); Jul 4, 1994.

This week's theme: toponyms or words derived from place names.


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