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1650s, "nourishment," also "allowance to a wife from a husband's estate, or in certain cases of separation," from Latin alimonia "food, support, nourishment, sustenance," from alere "to nourish" (see old) + -monia suffix signifying action, state, condition (cognate with Greek -men). Derived form palimony coined 1979.
in divorce law, compensation owed by one spouse to the other for financial support after divorce. Alimony aims at support of the one spouse, not punishment of the other. In some places, the term means simply a property settlement irrespective of future support. Alimony has traditionally been granted from husbands to wives but has occasionally been granted from wives to husbands.