"ban" = "requirement"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 5 15:53:34 UTC 2010

At 11:15 AM -0400 5/5/10, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>At 5/5/2010 10:32 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>But Larry may be on to something, Not that they know what a "bann" is,
>I'm sure they don't.
>>they must think of "ban on" as any kind of "public edict about."
>Perhaps they're right!   I am surprised to find that "any kind of
>public edict" *is* one meaning:
>"ban, n1, I. Authoritative proclamation, and attached senses, from
>Fr.  1. A public proclamation or edict; a summons by public
>proclamation."  In use as late as c1450 and [1641].

I was going to suggest that "bann(s)"/"ban" might be a case of
lexical convergence of items from diverse sources, as with "ear" or
"un-", with the likelihood that there were folks over the centuries
who just took "bann" to be a quaint spelling of this generalized
"ban" used in contexts of public pronouncements concerning weddings.
but after writing this, I thought to check the OED, where I found
this under _banns_, indicating that just folks would essentially have
been right:

_banns_, n. pl.
The same word as BAN n.1 'proclamation,' in a specific use, in which
it was from some cause regularly pronounced with long [a] from 15th
to 17th c. The Prayer-book of 1549 has exceptionally bannes, that of
1552 bannes and banes, all edd. from 1559 to 1661 banes, from 1662
onward banns, after med.L. bannum, used, as well as F. ban, in same
sense. The singular occurs in 15th c.; the plural only is found after.


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