Printable Version
Pronunciation: mawn-dee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, noun

Meaning: 1. The ceremony of washing of the feet of the poor. 2. The alms associated with that ceremony. Today is Maundy Thursday, a traditional Christian celebration of the Last Supper, a Passover meal, probably the last Seder of Jesus Christ.

Notes: Historically Maundy Thursday was celebrated by the sovereign's washing the feet of the poor as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. More recently this ceremony has been replaced by giving alms, or "Maundy Coins", to the poor. Maundy is celebrated on the Thursday before Good Friday and Easter.

In Play: Today's Maundy coins are given ceremoniously to as many senior citizens as the sovereign has lived years. They are given Maundy coins as a reward for Christian service to their communities. The British sovereign gives each recipient two small leather purses on Maundy Thursday: one containing ordinary money, the other, specially struck silver Maundy coins, the same number in pence as the sovereign's age.

Word History: As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper, he said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." John 15:12. Unfortunately, this 11th Commandment is too often forgotten today, perhaps explaining the fading interest in Maundy Thursday. "New commandment" in Latin is mandatum novum. The Latin phrase over time was reduced to the single word mandatum, which descended to Old French as mandé, at which point it was borrowed by English. Over even more time, it reduced to today's Good Word. (May we all today remember Christ's famous "maundy" and apply it to everyone we know, especially to Larry Brady, who suggested today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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