05 October 2009

M for Monday, M for Materteral

Today's word of the day is materteral.

materteral- of or resembling an aunt, pertaining to or in the manner of an aunt.

Some background on materteral (from here).

Both "materteral" and "materterine" are derived from Latin matertera, "maternal aunt" (compare the derivation of "avuncular" from Latin avunculus "maternal uncle").
Paternal aunts are not etymologically neglected; however, in Latin, your father's sister was called "amita" which, after changing [m] to [n] and losing a couple of vowels along the way, has ended up as English "aunt."

A visit to the family house in Wicklow never fails to include many materteral cheek-pinching.

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