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Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:19 pm

• morganatic •

Pronunciation: mor-gê--tik

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Pertaining to kind of marriage between a member of the nobility and a commoner that blocks the transmission of noble rank to the commoner and precludes any claim by their offspring on the title or estate.

Notes: A morganatic marriage is sometimes called a "left-handed marriage" (from German "Ehe zur linken Hand") because in the German morganatic ceremony the bridegroom gives the bride his left, rather than his right hand. Be careful not to drop a syllable; we hear morganic far too frequently.

In Play: Today's good word is a follow-up to our recent word consort, in which we claimed that Camilla Parker Bowles would not become Queen Consort when Prince Charles ascends to the throne. That was before the Department for Constitutional Affairs spoke out on the issue, affirming that she would become Queen by current law, when Charles accedes to the throne. This means that their wedding will not be morganatic. However, in the latest breaking news, Ms. Bowles declares that she will decline the title "Queen" if offered it. Stay tuned.

Word History: Today's word is a reduction of a mildly Germanesque Latin phrase matrimonium ad morganaticam "marriage with a morning gift," morgan being a reduction of morgangeba an earlier form of German Morgengabe "morning gift." The point was that the commoner in such a bond is entitled to nothing beyond the gift they receive on the morning after the wedding. In fact, the adjective may have been nothing more than a Latinization of a variant of the German compound, morganegyba, but you get the point.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:02 am

I was delighted to know the history of this word. Good work, Doc!

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Postby Apoclima » Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:08 pm

I just get this feeling that there is something very sinister about a morganatic type of marriage!


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Postby Stargzer » Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:06 pm

Apoclima wrote:I just get this feeling that there is something very sinister about a morganatic type of marriage!



1. Having the left hand or arm stronger and more dexterous than the right; using the left hand and arm with more dexterity than the right.

I love the juxtaposition of left and dexterous/dexterity!

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