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morganatic

[mawr-guh-nat-ik]
adjective
  1. of or relating to a form of marriage in which a person of high rank, as a member of the nobility, marries someone of lower station with the stipulation that neither the low-ranking spouse nor their children, if any, will have any claim to the titles or entailed property of the high-ranking partner.
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Origin of morganatic

1720–30; < New Latin morganāticus (adj.), for Medieval Latin phrase (mātrimōnium) ad morganāticam (marriage) to the extent of morning-gift (morganātica representing Germanic *morgangeba (feminine); compare Old English morgengiefu gift from husband to wife on day after wedding)
Related formsmor·ga·nat·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for morganatic

Historical Examples of morganatic

  • But it was a tough break for Frank—morganatic marriage and all that.

    Astounding Stories of Super-Science, August 1930

    Various

  • He had thought it a sacrifice to suggest a morganatic marriage.

    The Princess Virginia

    C. N. Williamson

  • You must have heard even in England of what is called a morganatic marriage?

    The Princess Virginia

    C. N. Williamson

  • Morganatic marriages for princes have continued down to our own time.

    Folkways

    William Graham Sumner

  • The same may be said of a slave woman, or of a morganatic wife.

    Folkways

    William Graham Sumner


British Dictionary definitions for morganatic

morganatic

adjective
  1. of or designating a marriage between a person of high rank and a person of low rank, by which the latter is not elevated to the higher rank and any issue have no rights to the succession of the higher party's titles, property, etc
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Derived Formsmorganatically, adverb

Word Origin for morganatic

C18: from the Medieval Latin phrase mātrimōnium ad morganāticum marriage based on the morning-gift (a token present after consummation representing the husband's only liability); morganātica, ultimately from Old High German morgan morning; compare Old English morgengiefu morning-gift
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for morganatic

adj.

1727, from French morganatique (18c.), from Medieval Latin matrimonium ad morganaticam "marriage of the morning," probably from Old High German *morgangeba (Middle High German morgengabe) "morning gift," corresponding to Old English morgengifu (see morn + gift). In an unequal marriage between a man of royal blood and a common woman, this was a gift traditionally given to the wife on the morning after consummation, representing the only share she and her children may claim in the husband's estate. Also known as left-handed marriage, because the groom gives the bride his left hand instead of his right, but sometimes this latter term is used of a class of marriage (especially in Germany) where the spouse of inferior rank is not elevated, but the children inherit rights of succession. Related: Morganatically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper