HomeCornucopia • Word Formation 3abandon • ban • banal • bandit • banish • contraband

WORD FORMATION RESOURCE

abandon(ed), abandonment, banal(ity), bandit(o), banditry, banish(ment), banns, contraband, unban


WORD ORIGINS

BAN

Old English bannan ‘summon by a public proclamation’, of Germanic origin, reinforced by Old Norse banna ‘curse, prohibit’; the noun is partly from Old French ban ‘proclamation, summons, banishment’. In Old English this meant ‘to summon by popular proclamation’. The word is Germanic and also passed into French where it had the sense ‘proclamation, summons, banishment’. This lies behind abandon (Late Middle English) based on the Old French phrase a bandon ‘at one’s disposal, under one’s jurisdiction’; and banal (mid 18th century) which originally related to feudal service and meant ‘compulsory’. From this came a notion of ‘common to everyone’ and so ‘ordinary and everyday’. The marriage banns (Middle English) read in church also come from the sense ‘proclamation’. Bandit (late 16th century) comes from Italian bandito a ‘banned person’, and banish (Late Middle English) comes from the same root.

References
Acknowledgements

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