Monday, May 11, 2015

Etiquette, Manners and Etymology

The etymology of the term points to society, and the true source of grace and refinement of manners and character.

Etymology of the Word "Polite"

Polite and politeness are terms etymologically relating to a city. "Polis" was a city in Greece, and "Polites" a citizen. Cultivated manners distinguished the citizen from the rude countryman. A "Citizcu" was a polite man. The etymology of the term points to society, and the true source of grace and refinement of manners and character.

Isolation fosters selfishness and boorish habits. Mingling with our fellow beings, we are led to study our relations to them, and what is due to them, and deport ourselves accordingly. True politeness embraces the duties and deportment we owe to those around us. It is justice and benevolence embodied or acted out. Mere artificial manners, or heartless etiquette, is not politeness.

Romper Room's "Do Bees" were being polite and knew their etiquette!

Etymology of the Word "Etiquette"

Etiquette is a French word which originally meant a label indicating tho price or quality, the English "ticket," and in Old French was usually specialized to mean a soldier's bille 
The phrase "that's the ticket" shows the change to the present meaning of manners according to code. Burke solemnly explained that "etiquette had its original application to those ceremonies and formal observances practiced at courts. The term came afterward to signify certain formal methods used in the transactions between sovereign states. The Amador Ledger, 1907


To the French we owe the word etiquette, and it is amusing to discover its origin in the commonplace familiar warning--"Keep off the grass." It happened in the reign of Louis XIV, when the gardens of Versailles were being laid out, that the master gardener, an old Scotsman, was sorely tried because his newly seeded lawns were being continually trampled upon. To keep trespassers off, he put up warning signs or tickets--etiquettes--on which was indicated the path along which to pass. But the courtiers paid no attention to these directions and so the determined Scot complained to the King in such convincing manner that His Majesty issued an edict commanding everyone at Court to "keep within the etiquettes." From "Manners and Morals" Richard Duffy, 1922


et•i•quette (ˈɛt ɪ kɪt, -ˌkɛt) noun.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] From 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

"Good Manners" ~ An Exhaustive Common Sense Work

Etymology of the Word "Manners"

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. From

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 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

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