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Archiver > LONDON > 2003-10 > 1066030491

From: Mike Gallafent <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] Origin of nee
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 08:34:51 +0100
References: <000a01c39135$28e81b20$6500a8c0@DI640>
In-Reply-To: <000a01c39135$28e81b20$6500a8c0@DI640>

In message <000a01c39135$28e81b20$>, Ken Boyce
<> writes
>Anyone care to take a stab at explaining how the use of "nee" came about. - and
>I know it is of French origin meaning birth
>Ken Boyce
>British Columbia, Canada
>Researching PERRIS of London BOYCE of Herts

Brewer's 'Phrase & Fable' omits any mention. Fowler's 'Modern English
Usage' merely explains use of the word.

The Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words & Phrases, cites usage of the
term from the 18th century, as does the Shorter Oxford English
Dictionary. Both draw attention to an additional meaning dating from the
20th century. This is in renaming. The example given in the 'Shorter' is
flight attendant neé stewardess.

It appears likely that the use of the word neé arose in the 18th
century, particularly in London, because of the high influx of French
Huguenots. The cause of the adoption, like many modern day Americanisms
and, dare I say it, English terms into 21st century French, is that it
neatly encapsulates the meaning of a long phrase into a single word when
a native one is unavailable.


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