manor

Definitions

General English

  • noun a country house and the land surrounding it

Slang

  • noun one’s own district or area of jurisdiction. A word used by both police and criminals since before World War II.

Origin & History of “manor”

Etymologically, a manor is a place where one ‘stays’ or ‘dwells’. It goes back ultimately to the Latin verb manēre ‘remain, stay’, which in post-classical times was used for ‘dwell, live’. Its Old French descendant maneir came to be used as a noun, meaning ‘dwelling place’. This passed into English via Anglo-Norman maner, and was originally used for ‘country house’. In the 14th century it came to be incorporated into the terminology of the feudal system, from which its present-day meanings come.

The past participle stem of manēre was māns-, from which was derived the Latin noun mānsiō ‘place to stay’. Old French took this over in two forms: maison (whence the modern French word for ‘house’, source of English maisonette (19th c.)) and mansion. English borrowed this as mansion (14th c.), and originally used it for ‘place of abode, house’. The present-day connotations of a ‘large stately house’ did not emerge until as recently as the 19th century.

Manse (15th c.) comes from the same ultimate source, as do menagerie (18th c.) (whose immediate French source originally denoted the ‘management of domestic animals’), permanent, and remain.
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