Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sharon Lathan...Vocabulary Rocks!

Sharon Lathan visits today and gives us a bit of a vocabulary lesson. It is quite fun and I think you will all enjoy it. See if there is anything you didn't know. This 'word' lesson came about from researching her latest novels, The Darcy Saga Prequel Duo. The newest is Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. Volume one is Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship.

It has been a long time since Sharon Lathan has visited my blog and I'm glad to have her return. Please join me in welcoming her back to More Agreeably Engaged.

From Troth to Spousage: Vocabulary Rocks!

Thank you, Janet, for welcoming me to your awesome blog today! It is always a joy to share a new novel with, hopefully, new readers. What would authors do without lovely ladies willing to host us on their websites?

My newest novel — Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future — is the second (and final) volume of the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo. Together with volume one — Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship — I went backwards, as it were, from my eight-book Darcy Saga Sequel series, which began on the wedding night and moved forward in time. With the Prequel Duo, I cover the two-month span from Mr. Darcy’s successful proposal of marriage up to and including the wedding ceremony.

My first order of business in delving into the engagement months was to research the specifics during this period of history in England. As with most aspects of research, particularly when delving into a past over two-hundred years ago, comprehending the terminology is vitally important. As a writer of historical fiction, doing my utmost to ensure the proper, period-appropriate verbiage is essential. Granted, I am writing fiction, so can employ measures of “creative license” here and there—if it isn’t too “creative.” LOL!

Often, I am amazed at words and phrases that feel modern, but end up being ancient. And vice versa. As an avowed language nut, vocabulary is a passion. While it is fun to add the occasional old, now-obsolete word, or period-slang and cant, it is usually better to choose words that are immediately recognizable to a modern reader. On the flip side, picking words or phrases that are too modern—as in did not exist two hundred years ago—is a big no-no. Fortunately, this wasn’t too difficult when it comes to common marriage-related words.

I’ll begin with two word that are the precursor to the formalized promise of marriage. To me, these two words have a slightly modern feel, and the dates are newer, relatively speaking, yet still period appropriate.

Intentions - “one's purposes with regard to courtship and marriage,” by 1796.
Proposal – 1650s, from propose “advance, suggest.” Meaning specific to “an offer of marriage” dating from 1749.

The following words refer to the act of promising to marry (the acceptance of the proposal), as well as the interval between the proposal and the binding vows. By the Regency, troth had become outdated for normal use other than within the marriage vows themselves. Nevertheless, it would have been a familiar word more so than it is today, and is the root of the common betrothed and variants. Affianced, similarly, is a bit unusual as a modern term, but would have been quite common during the Regency.

Troth – Dating to late 12c., from Old English, meaning “faithfulness, veracity, truth, a pledge.” Restricted after the 16c. to certain archaic phrases, such as: plight one's troth.

Betroth - c. 1300, betrouthen, “to promise to marry.” A combination of be- (thoroughly) and troth. From 1560s as a “contract to give a woman in marriage to another; to affiance.” Variants: Betrothed (past particle); Betrothal (act of betrothing, from 1825); Betrothment (earlier variant, from 1580s); and Betrothing (14th c.)

Affiance - 1520s, “to promise.” From the Old French afiancier “to pledge, promise, give one's word,” from the noun afiance “confidence, trust.” Specifically, “to promise in marriage” attests from the mid-16th c.

Engage – Dating to the early 12th c. Old French engagier, meaning “to pledge; bind by promise or oath.” The specific sense of “promise to marry” is from 1610. This use evolved to Engagement, meaning a “formal promise” at roughly the same time, and later in the sense of “the state or period of having entered into a promise of marriage” in 1742.

Courtship – 1570s, “behavior of a courtier.” Meaning “paying court to a woman with intention of marriage” is from 1590s.

When it comes to referring to the promised-to-be-wed person, either the man or the woman, the options are somewhat limited. Betrothed was by far the most common, and was applied to either gender. Phrases such as “my husband/wife-to-be” or “my future groom/bride” were often used, along with the general “my intended.”

Those latter phrases are adequate, and I did use them, but are simply not overly appealing to me. To exclusively use only “betrothed” went against my need to mix up words. Therefore, I confess to stretching the limits and laying claim to creative license in my novels by choosing to sprinkle in “fiancé” and “fiancée.” As noted below, etymologically, neither was likely to have been used in England during the first two decades of the 19th century. Or if they were, it would have been rare. Personally, I figure an author is within acceptable boundaries in using a word 20-30 years before it is first recorded. Presumably a word was uttered by people long enough to grow common and spread around before anyone wrote it down. Nor can we be certain that the extant recorded source is the first time that word was written. With these points in mind, I believe logic works in my favor. Plus, I simply like the words fiancé and fiancée!

Intended – As in “one’s intended husband or wife,” dates to 1767.

Fiancé – A “man to whom one is betrothed,” by 1826 as a French word in English. From the French fiancé “to betroth” and borrowed from Middle English afiance “confidence, trust, word of honor.” 
Fiancée – A “woman to whom one is betrothed,” by 1837 as a French word in English. From the French fiancée (feminine form of fiancé). Same root found in Latin fidus “faithful,” fides “faith,” and fidare “to trust.”

Moving on to the final stages, that being the ceremony and marriage itself, there seems to be a wealth of possible choices!

Marry - c. 1300, “to give in marriage, to take in marriage.” From Old French marier, and the Latin maritare “to get married; to marry off, to wed, give in marriage; to bring together in marriage.” Married (adj.) – “formally wedded” dating from late 14th c.

Marriage - c. 1300, “action of marrying, entry into wedlock,” also “state or condition of being husband and wife, matrimony, wedlock.” From Old French mariage “marriage; dowry” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin maritaticum (11c.), from Latin maritatus “to wed, marry, give in marriage.” As in the context of the ceremony itself, “the marriage vows, formal declaration or contract by which two join in wedlock” and also “a wedding, celebration of a marriage; the marriage ceremony” are from late 14c. Marriageable (adj.) – 1550s, from the word marriage + -able. Earlier form Mariable.  

Wed - Old English weddian “to pledge oneself, covenant to do something, vow; betroth, marry,” also “unite (two other people) in a marriage, conduct the marriage ceremony.” From the Proto-Germanic wadi-  “to bet, wager,” and Old Frisian weddia “to promise, pledge.” Related: Wedded, as in “one who has been wed” and Wedlock, “condition of being married.”

Wedding - Old English weddung “state of being wed; pledge, betrothal; action of marrying.” Meaning of “nuptials, ceremony of marriage” is recorded from early 13c. The usual Old English word for the ceremony was bridelope, literally “bridal run,” in reference to conducting the bride to her new home. Wedding Ring is from late 14c. Wedding Cake is recorded from 1640s. Wedding Dress attested from 1779.

Nuptial - late 15c., from Middle French nuptial, or directly from Latin nuptialis “pertaining to marriage.”

Connubial (adj.) – 1650, from Latin connubialis, “pertaining to wedlock.”

Matrimony - c. 1300, from Old French matremoine “matrimony, marriage” and directly from Latin matrimonium “wedlock, marriage.” From the root matrem “mother” + -monium, a suffix signifying “action, state, condition.” Matrimonial (adj.) - mid-15c., from Middle French matrimonial (14c.) and directly from Late Latin matrimonialis.

Common Law - mid-14c., “the customary and unwritten laws of England as embodied in commentaries and old cases,” as opposed to statute law. Phrase common law marriage is attested from 1909.

I threw in the last one mainly to show that the concept of a “common law marriage” was unknown until the modern era. I shall conclude the vocabulary lesson with a few words specific to after the official marriage vows were exchanged. Too bad I missed noting the word “spousage” until writing this blog or I would have worked that one in, just for fun!

Spouse - c. 1200, “a married person, either one of a married pair, but especially a married woman in relation to her husband.” From the Old French spous (fem. spouse) “marriage partner,” a variant of espous/espouse, from Latin sponsus meaning the “bridegroom” as opposed to the feminine sponsa for the “bride.” Both deviations (masculine and feminine) come from spondere “to bind oneself, promise solemnly” and “to make an offering, perform a rite.” Related: Spousal, 1510s “pertaining to marriage,” and Spousage, mid-14th c. “marriage, wedlock.”

Mate – The general usage of “an associate, fellow, comrade,” dates to mid-14c., with the added sense of “companion” from the late 14c. Meaning “one of a wedded pair” is attested from 1540s.

I hope this exploration of etymology, definitions, and terminology was enlightening. Even if not the word nerd that I am, it is fascinating to learn where words come from and the nuanced meanings as they evolve. Still, whether a lover of etymology or not, everyone loves a romantic story ending with happily ever after, right? I can promise readers will have plenty within the pages of the Darcy Saga novels!

Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future —

Mr. Darcy sat beside his desk, the tall back of the leather-and-wood chair ending exactly along the line of his shoulders so that all she could easily see was the back of his head. One hand waved over his shoulder, vaguely in the direction of the desk, and his tone was distracted more than harsh, but the dismissal was obvious.

Whatever sunny greeting she might have extended was forgotten, and for several seconds Lizzy stood frozen in the doorway. The weight of the tray restored enough clarity for her to gingerly enter the room, each step closer to the sleek surface of his desk bizarrely mixing her emotions.

Darcy’s head was bent slightly, and Lizzy suspected he was listening to the murmuring voices of Jane and Georgiana drifting through the open window he faced. Fleetingly wondering if he listened for her voice, she soon realized all his focus was on a thick book propped in his lap. It was a ledger of some kind, and he traced one finger down a line of sums written in penmanship Lizzy knew not to be his. He had removed his jacket—a glance noted it on a coat rack in the corner—loosened his cravat, and sat with booted feet propped onto a large ottoman. It was the most relaxed pose she had ever seen him in, despite the fact he was attending to business.

Abruptly, all traces of enthusiasm for her surprise interruption vanished. The sense of imposition compounded. For a panicked moment, she almost dashed from the room, tea tray still in her clutches. Mastering the impulse, she placed the tray quietly on the corner of his desk—praying he did not choose that instant to turn around—and took one step backward before freezing once again.

Mr. Darcy had blindly reached with his free hand to nudge a sovereign-sized wooden ball on his desk. The ball rolled across the flat surface some four inches, smacked into the base of the unlit lamp, ricocheted, and rolled back into his waiting hand. Never glancing away from the ledger in his lap, he repeated the maneuver several times in rapid succession. 

It was astounding! Lizzy stood mesmerized for six or seven precision rolls before the realization that she was engaged in active voyeurism woke her out of the daydream.

A decision was required. Her options were to either slink out the cracked open door or speak up. The urge to do the former remained, yet felt a cowardly move now that she had mastered her initial panic. Elizabeth Bennet was rarely intimidated. After all, she had boldly accosted Mr. Travers with the intent to enter her fiancé’s sanctuary unbidden. If she backed away now, how would she explain it to Miss Darcy and Jane? Or Mr. Travers? The butler was unlikely to inquire directly, but if he saw her scurry away, then he would assume the future Mrs. Darcy was a milksop. That was unacceptable!

The speaking-up option would, of course, prove that she had been spying on him. Being a private, reserved man, Lizzy was honestly unsure how he would react to such an intrusion, even from her. At the end of the mere seconds it took for these thoughts to race through her mind, she observed him in unguarded repose, and it was the returned yearning to be alone with him that impelled her to action.
Dwelling on the possible outcomes no longer, she slipped behind him, squeezed both shoulders, and whispered close to his left ear, “Any guess who this is?”

Perhaps she should have given the matter a tad more thought, she later confessed. 

Mr. Darcy jerked violently, the book tumbling to the carpeted floor with a dull thunk and the wooden ball shooting off the desk. She was fairly sure he swore too, but the precise curse was lost amid her instant laughter and gasping attempts to apologize.

Adding to the ridiculousness, he precipitously swiveled around. Lizzy emitted a squeal along with the gasping giggles, caught utterly off guard by a chair that moved. Still in a bent posture, her jolt of surprise pitched her forward until their noses bumped together, falling into his lap prevented when she locked her elbows and splayed her hands on his chest.

A dozen exclamations, curious questions, and justifications for her behavior skipped across her tongue. None of them were uttered or involved what she impulsively did instead.
She kissed him. Hard.

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future (Darcy Saga Prequel Book #2) by Sharon Lathan
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!

The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers.

Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured!

As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result?

Continue the journey begun in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century.

The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is Volume 2 of the “prequel duo” for Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Purchasing links—

Sharon Lathan bio—

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, was published in 2009. Sharon’s series of “happily ever after” for the Darcys now totals nine full-length novels and one Christmas themed novella.

Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future complete the “prequel to the sequel” duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began.

Sharon is a native Californian relocated in 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky, where she resides with her husband of over thirty years. Retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer.

Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Beau Monde chapter of the RWA, and serves as the website manager and on the board of the Louisville Romance Writers chapter of the RWA.

Sharon is the co-creator of Austen Authors, a group blog for authors of Austenesque literary fiction. Visit at: 

Connect with Sharon at the following places— 

Facebook at Sharon Lathan, Novelist
Twitter @SharonLathan
Pinterest  SharonLathan62

Thanks so much for being my guest, Sharon. I hope you will not wait so long next time to visit again. It's been lovely having you stop by. Your vocabulary lesson was awesome and it was interesting to see where and how many of these words were derived. I loved reading the meanings of all the terms relating to betrothal and marriage. It is a fascinating topic.

I think I'm a bit of a vocabulary nerd myself or was at one time. When I was in college, one of the English courses was Vocabulary. I had heard how tough the class was and decided to take it for the challenge. I worked hard in the class and studied harder but I loved it. To top it off, I made an A for the semester! 

That was a fun excerpt with a fantastic ending! Thank you for sharing with us and enticing us to read more! Best wishes with the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo.

Giveaway: 2 ebook copies (2 winners) of Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. The giveaway is international and all you need to do to enter is have your share in the conversation. We invite your thoughts. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 28th of August. Good luck!

Thank you, Sharon Lathan, for having a giveaway for my readers. I know they are as appreciative as I am. 


  1. Thanks again for hosting me today, Janet! It is great fun to be here :-) I will be in and out of my house this morning, but will check in to chat with your visitors. <3

    1. You are welcome. It was my pleasure and I enjoyed your vocabulary and the excerpt! :)

  2. So interesting to learn the origin of some of those words and how they have been modernized or kept the same throughout the centuries. Congrats again on completing the series! I'm looking forward to reading it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dung Vu. Wasn't it interesting reading? I enjoyed it a lot!

    2. Thank you, Dung! It is a tremendous relief to finally have finished the Prequel, let me tell ya! Cheers :-)

  3. I love learning about words and their origin. Thanks for the interesting information and the fun excerpt. I already have the ebook and have begin reading it, so please do not enter me in the give away.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. I love learning about words too. I look forward to hearing your thoughts after you finish reading. :)

    2. Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed the word essay, Deborah Ann! I am such aw word nerd that I forget sometimes that others are not. LOL! It fascinates me to learn the roots to words, and how the meanings changed. It often enhances the understanding of the word's implications.

      Thanks for buying my book! Enjoy!! :-)

  4. I've grown to love etymology over the past few years, ever since I undertook my very first beta read. Thanks for such an interesting glossary of words associated with courtship and marriage. I'll have to bookmark this page for future reference!

    1. HI Anji! Thanks for stopping by, and I am happy my wee lesson was helpful :-)

    2. Glad you stopped by Anji. This was interesting, wasn't it.

  5. Love getting the etymology of words so this was a fun post for me. Thanks, Sharon!

    1. My pleasure Sophia Rose! Glad you enjoyed my word-nerd essay LOL!

    2. I thought it was too, Sophia. Thanks for commenting! :)

  6. Thanks so much for featuring Sharon her on the blog! I love all of her books and can't wait to get started on these new one. Great excerpt and I love the history lesson on words. They are so fascinating and it's amazing how easily we take their meanings and when they were first used for granted. Best Wishes with your new books Sharon and definitely looking forward to more from you! Jen Red

    1. HI Jen Red! My favorite word fun is searching through the thesaurus. Nothing pleases me more than finding some odd or rare word, and then the worst is discovering that super cool word is too modern! Grrr! LOL!

      Thanks for the well wishes on the new book. I greatly appreciate it!

    2. Hi Jen. You are welcome. I was happy to have Sharon visit again. It had been too long.

  7. Congratulations! It is always fascinating to learn the history behind a word. Thank you! Enjoyed the excerpt and look forward to reading this book!

    1. Thanks for visiting Carole! I hope you enjoy Hope of the Future. :-)

    2. Thanks for stopping by Carole. Wasn't the excerpt good!

  8. I really had no idea some of these words have been around for so long! Fascinating! I'm continuously astounded by the amount of research most JAFF authors do to make their stories accurate no matter what time period they are writing about. Thank you for sharing this Sharon.
    Please don't enter me in the giveaway Janet as I already have this lovely book. I re read ASOC first followed by this one and am currently re reading the rest. I am now on In the Arms of Mr Darcy. I love the passionate, teasing couple they are.

    1. I felt the same Glynis! Some have been around a long time.

      You are on a reading spree. Sounds wonderful! Have fun!

  9. Whoot! Reading extravaganza! You go, Glynis! LOL! Thanks for being such a great friend and faithful reader. {{hugs}}

  10. The post is fascinating to read and I like to know how these words originate. When I was working in a bookstore, I was tempted to buy a thick book explaining the root words of some of the most common English words. Alas, I do not remember if I actually bought the book or not.

    Lovely excerpt btw. Thank you for sharing it, Sharon.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sylvia. If you bought the book, I do hope you find it! lol