Apr 26, 2006

Rapid Rhetoric: MÉSALLIANCE

This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

mésalliance n. mistaken marriage; marriage into a lower social class.

From the French words més-, ("bad") alliance, ("alliance," "marriage")

Here is a quotation from the George Eliot novel Daniel Deronda (1876):

"It shows the Arrowpoints' good sense, however, to have adopted the affair, after the fuss in the paper," said Sir Hugo. "And disowning your own child because of a mésalliance is something like disowning your one eye: everybody knows it's yours, and you have no other to make an appearance with."


Mark Pettus said...

I have no idea where you're coming from, or where you're going, for that matter, but you're quoting George Eliot, and it isn't even Silas Marner - How can I not comment?

historymike said...

I have been plugging away at this novel for a few weeks; I intuitively understood the meaning of the term, but was curious about its origin.

Silas Marner was excellent, and I originally read it from a quasi-Marxist historical perspective.

I was interested in this text from more of an identity politics angle.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Another good one Mike!

You must get into some "interesting" reading ;-)