Word of the Day

Monday, January 14, 2008

primogeniture

\pry-moh-JEN-ih-choor\ , noun;
1.
The state of being the firstborn of the same parents; seniority by birth among children of the same family.
2.
(Law) An exclusive right of inheritance that belongs to the eldest son.
Quotes:
Anglo-Saxon kings did not succeed on the basis of primogeniture. All the kings offspring were known as aethelings -- throneworthy -- and from this gene pool the royal family would select the aetheling who seemed best qualified for the job.
-- Danny Danziger, The Year 1000
Only now is the British government getting around to eliminating primogeniture and hereditary rights from the British Constitution by expelling hereditary peers from the upper house (still called the House of Lords).
-- Paul Johnson, "Thicker Than Water", National Review, August 11, 2003
Origin:
Primogeniture is from Late Latin primogenitura, from Latin primus, "first" + genitura, "a begetting, birth, generation," from the past participle of gignere, "to beget."
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