Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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Thursday word: contubernal

contubernal (kon-tu-BER-nuhl) - adj., living together, intimate, in companionship. n., a companion.


Literally, in the same tent (Latin contubernalis is from com-, together/with + taberna, tent/hut). This was originally applied to the "marriage" of slaves, as opposed to free persons who got to be connubial (formally married), but along the way was expanded to messmates or tentmates in the army and the like. I don't know when exactly it was borrowed from Latin, but I see citations ranging from Chaucer to Patrick O'Brian, so it's got a long history. For an example, let's go with that O'Brian, shall we? From The Nutmeg of Consolation:

"Another misery of human life," remarked Stephen to the morning darkness, "is having a contubernal that snores like ten."


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---L.
Tags: adjective, c, latin, noun
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