alimony


alimony
\ \ [17] Alimony is an anglicization of Latin alimōnia, which is based on the verb alerenourish’ (source of almabounteous’, as in alma mater, and of alumnus). This in turn goes back to a hypothetical root *al-, which is also the basis of English adolescent, adult, altitude (from Latin altushigh’), and old. The original sense ‘nourishment, sustenance’ has now died out, but the specialized ‘support for a former wife’ is of equal antiquity in English.
\ \ The -mony element in the word represents Latin -mōnia, a fairly meaning-free suffix used for forming nouns from verbs (it is related to -ment, which coincidentally was also combined with alere, to form alimentary), but in the later 20th century it took on a newly productive role in the sense ‘provision of maintenance for a former partner’. Palimonyprovision for a former non-married partner’ was coined around 1979, and in the 1980s appeared dallymonyprovision for somebody one has jilted’.
\ \ Cf.ADULT, ALTITUDE, ALUMNUS, OLD

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • alimony — al·i·mo·ny / a lə ˌmō nē/ n [Latin alimonia sustenance, from alere to nourish] 1: an allowance made to one spouse by the other for support pending or after legal separation or divorce compare child support alimony in gross: lump sum alimony in… …   Law dictionary

  • Alimony — • In the common legal sense of the word, the allowance by order of the court a husband pays to his wife for her maintenance while she is living separately from him, or paid by her former husband to a divorced woman Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • alimony — al‧i‧mo‧ny [ˈælməni ǁ moʊni] noun [uncountable] LAW money that a court orders someone to pay regularly to their former wife or husband after their marriage has ended: • According to the IRS, alimony payments are taxable to the recipient in the… …   Financial and business terms

  • Alimony — Al i*mo*ny, n. [L. alimonia, alimonium, nourishment, sustenance, fr. alere to nourish.] 1. Maintenance; means of living. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) An allowance made to a wife out of her husband s estate or income for her support, upon her divorce… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alimony — An amount given to one spouse by another while they are separated or divorced. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • alimony — (n.) 1650s, nourishment, also allowance to a wife from a husband s estate, or in certain cases of separation, from L. alimonia food, support, nourishment, sustenance, from alere to nourish (see OLD (Cf. old)) + monia suffix signifying action,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • alimony — [n] money paid in support of a former spouse keep, livelihood, living, maintenance, provision, remittance, subsistence, sustenance, upkeep; concept 344 …   New thesaurus

  • alimony — ► NOUN chiefly N. Amer. ▪ maintenance for a spouse after separation or divorce. ORIGIN originally in the sense «nourishment, means of subsistence»: from Latin alimonia, from alere nourish …   English terms dictionary

  • alimony — [al′ə mō΄nē] n. [L alimonia, food, support < alere, to nourish: see OLD] 1. Obs. supply of the means of living; maintenance 2. an allowance that a court orders paid to a person by that person s spouse or former spouse after a legal separation… …   English World dictionary

  • Alimony — For the 1949 film directed by Alfred Zeisler, see Alimony (film). Family law …   Wikipedia

  • alimony — /jelamaniy/ Comes from Latin alimonia meaning sustenance, and means, therefore, the sustenance or support of the wife by her divorced husband and stems from the common law right of the wife to support by her husband. Allowances which husband or… …   Black's law dictionary


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