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CONSORT

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CONSORT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:37 pm

• consort •


Pronunciation: kahn-sort

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A husband or wife, a spouse; used in conjunction with some titles, such as Queen Consort, the wife of a king, King Consort, the husband of a queen. Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, was known as the Prince Consort. 2. A company of musicians specializing in the performance of music from an earlier era, as a baroque music consort. 3. A ship sailing in company with another.

Notes: The verb from today's word, consort "keep company with, to associate with", in some US circles has been limited to shady associations, especially in the phrase, "to consort with known criminals". This has led those who do not read Dr. Goodword regularly to wrongly sense that the noun carries a pejorative connotation. It doesn't. If you have a spouse, you have a consort, regardless of the way he or she treats you or others.

In Play: As we all hold our breath for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, the slightly different attitudes in the UK and US toward today's good word will be thrown into the spotlight. Should Charles become king, he will be the titular head of the Church of England, which looks askance at divorce, something both of the couple have experienced. So, after the wedding, Ms. Bowles has agreed to abide by the modest title, HRH (Her Royal Highness) Duchess of Cornwall. Should Prince Charles become king, she is not to be promoted to the Queen Consort, as is traditional, but will rise only to the position of the Princess Consort—but without any implication of improper behavior.

Word History: Today's good word meant "colleague" in Middle English and the Old French from which it was cleverly snitched. It is based on the Latin preposition con "(together) with" + sors, sortis "fate", implying that a consort is someone you share your fate with, an interesting notion, indeed. The original PIE root is *ser-/*sor- "to line up". The variant with the [e] is found in English sermon and series. How the meaning shifted from "line up" to "fate" is still up in the air but the phonological match is pretty convincing. (We would like to thank Jeanne Barkley for not fearing to consort with us and sharing her curiosity about this word with our jolly band of lexophiles.)
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Postby tcward » Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:43 pm

How the meaning shifted from "line up" to "fate" is still up in the air but the phonological match is pretty convincing.


Que será, será!

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Que será, será!

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Mar 19, 2005 5:56 pm

I can actually make the connection but I have to stretch so far I fear I might not snap back. Certainly meanings have traveled farther than this over a shorter span.
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Re: CONSORT

Postby Stargzer » Sat Mar 19, 2005 6:26 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote: . . . Word History: Today's good word meant "colleague" in Middle English and the Old French from which it was cleverly snitched. It is based on the Latin preposition con "(together) with" + sors, sortis "fate", implying that a consort is someone you share your fate with, an interesting notion, indeed. The original PIE root is *ser-/*sor- "to line up". The variant with the [e] is found in English sermon and series. How the meaning shifted from "line up" to "fate" is still up in the air but the phonological match is pretty convincing. (We would like to thank Jeanne Barkley for not fearing to consort with us and sharing her curiosity about this word with our jolly band of lexophiles.)


In Greek Mythology, the Moirae or Moerae (also called the Fates), spun a thread, measured it, and snipped it off to determine the length of a person's life. Norse Mythology had similar old crones, the Norns, who ". . . weave the tapestry of fates. Each person's life is a string in their loom, and the length of the string is the length of the person's life."

It's probably not too long a stretch between "line up" and "fate." In Astrology, your "fate" is determined by how the stars "line up." In the Norns' tapestry, each string is lined up alongside another as the tapestry of fate is woven. Although Wikipedia only lists the Greek and Norse legends
Regards//Larry

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Postby KatyBr » Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:44 am

While it might sound a bit lame to gen Xers or Vers or whatever the Gen is now's eyes, but i like being part of a "Jolly band".
jolly band of lexophiles.)


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Postby tcward » Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:07 am

Forsooth!

-Tim
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:53 am

Church of England, which looks askance at divorce, something both of the couple have experienced.

I thought that's how it got started in the first place.

I had an inclination to pronounce the verb consort with the stress on the last syllable. Would I be wrong? As much as I could gather, I would, since the only given pronunciation is KAN-surt for both noun and adjective.

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Postby tcward » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:57 am

No, BD, you're not wrong. The verb form is, indeed, pronounced differently, with emphasis on the second syllable as you indicated.

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Postby anders » Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:00 pm

A quick check on the Internet seems to tally with the "musicians" definition. I always thought it referred to a group of instruments, not players. It seems that I'm not totally wrong: http://www.thehendricks.net/english_consort.htm
or A full consort set of four or more instruments or [url=http://www.metmuseum.org/news/newspressrelease.asp?PressReleaseId={2166FC8F-9960-11D6-9443-00902786BF44}]a consort of eight finely matched instruments[/url].
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Re: CONSORT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:42 pm

A good time to resurrect this word, since a Harvard prof has unearthed a papyrus frangment purporting to quote that Jesus said something to his wife or consort. Media of course makes it a sensation, but even to my inexpert eye it sounded like one of the many gnostic gospels, this one from the fourth century, it turns out. Chief value if authenticated would be to confirm the possibility of a debate at that time over the place of women in the church. Would not at all speak to historicity.
More relevant to the use of "consort" is that archaeologists have regularly used the word to refer to paired male and female gods, especially idols, found all over the world. Most recently, they have found "Astarte" idols among artifacts in Israel, and some are speculating that for some Israelites Yahweh had a female partner. Astarte has been compared to Venus, but she is waaay uglier.
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Re: CONSORT

Postby MTC » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:12 pm

Regarding the goddess, Astarte, a Google Image search unearths images of varying appeal, some beautiful, some ugly. Beauty must, as usual, reside in the eye of the beholder. But thanks for the information about consort pairs, Perry.

As for the third sense of "consort," La Nina and La Pinta, being smaller ships, were consorts of Columbus' flag ship, the Santa Maria.

Casting off lines for now...
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Re: CONSORT/Que será, será

Postby misterdoe » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:52 pm

The link between "line up" and "fate":

"Things will line up the way they line up..." :wink:
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Re: CONSORT

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:54 pm

The transition from gory idols to beautiful idols is a theme of the C. S. Lewis novel “Till We Have Faces”.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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