Printable Version
Pronunciation: prai-m-jen-ê-tyur or -chêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. The status of having been born first. 2. The law of inheritance whereby property is inherited by the first-born son.

Notes: It is usually applied in the legal sense; however, it means only "first-birth". The first-born is the primogenitor.

In Play: Birthrights play a major role in families, so you might try, "OK, big brother, primogeniture does not give you the right in this house to fossick around in my room when I'm not here." I doubt if a brother, no matter how large, would want to take on a sibling with this kind of vocabulary.

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin primogenitura "right of the first-born child", made up of primo "first" + genitura "birth, begetting". Primo derives from Proto-Indo-European per "through" with a suffix -m. With the suffix -v it appears in Slavic languages as Russian pervyi, Czech and Slovak prvý, and Polish pierwszy, all meaning "first". The same root probably underlies English far. Genitura was created from Latin genitus, past participle of gignere "to beget", akin to genesis "birth, creation". The Latin verb evolved from the PIE root genê- "to give birth, beget", which also produced Greek gyne "woman" found in gynecology and misogyny. Both these words are devolved from the same PIE root as English king and queen. Genê- went into the making of many words including generate, genteel, and kind in the sense of "variety".

Dr. Goodword,

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