Thursday, February 13, 2014

Word Usages and Origins; Etiquette and Manners

 "The ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things by which the mind was affected. And so they instituted ceremonies to direct men's aims aright; music to give harmony to their voice; laws to unify their conduct..." Confucius,  on clarifying manners and civility 

Confucius (551/552-479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, philosopher and politician during the so-called Hundred Schools of Thought era.


The Root of "Manners" is "Hand"

Middle English manere, from Old French maniere, from feminine of manier, handmade, skillful, from Vulgar Latin *manuārius, convenient, handy, from Latin, of the hand, from manus, hand; see man-2 in Indo-European roots.

That speaks volumes about manners to HAND-le with skill.


The manner of doing something is via 
Fr. maniire, from LL. manuarius, be- 
longing to the hand. Manual, both as 
a handbook, and in manual labor, is 
from the same source. Emancipate is a 
bit more roimdabout, dating from the 
days when the parent had power over 
the son: only the head of the family 
could acquire property: L. manceps, 
mancip — , one that acquires property, 
from manu-]rcapere, capt—, to tala by 
hand (whence also capture, captivate, 
etc Captive and caitiff are doublets, 
from L. captivus, from capt — . Captain is 
from quite other source ; see achieve.) : 
ex, out, whence emancipare, emancipat — , 
to take from the property holder. 
From the Dictionary of Word Origins Joseph T. Shipley 1937

et•i•quette (ˈɛt ɪ kɪt, -ˌkɛt) 


1. conventional requirements as to proper social behavior.
2. a prescribed code of usage in matters of ceremony: court etiquette.
3. the code of ethical behavior among the members of a profession: medical etiquette.
[1740–50; < French étiquette, Middle French estiquette ticket, memorandum, derivative of estiqu(i)er to attach < Germanic]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010


 This may have come natural to the ancients, for it is of Teut. origin. (Remember the story of the old man who walked through the crowded Athenian bleachers at a stadium ; when he came to the Spartan section, the men rose as one, to offer him a seat — whereupon the Athenians applauded. When they were still again, a man from Thessaly observed : "The Athenians recognize virtue; the Spartans practice it.") 
From the Dictionary of Word Origins Joseph T. Shipley 1937

Submitted by Demita Usher of Social Graces and Savoir Faire