"newly married man" (especially one who had seemed a confirmed bachelor), 1821, from the character Benedick
in "Much Ado About Nothing" (1599). The name is from L.L. Benedictus,
lit. "blessed," from L. benedicte
"bless (you)" (see benediction
). This also produced the proper name Bennet
; hence also benet
(late 14c.), the third of the four lesser orders of the Roman Catholic Church, one of whose functions was to exorcize spirits.