Word of the Day – Wednesday, January 10th



Word of the Day


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NEE (nay)

French word meaning 'born' used to indicate the maiden name of a married woman
clues: Society page word; Formerly; Name-dropper's word?; Wedding announcement word; Upper crust word; Born; Once called; Miss-named?
Crossword puzzle frequency: 15 times a year
Frequency in English language: 26536 / 86800

Image used with permission: donated by Martin Ferdinando to the Ferdinand(o) Family History Site:


We don't see this word so often these days, but when we do it is usually née.  It used to be that a recently married woman might be introduced as "Julia Winters née Summers", where the née indicated that her maiden name followed.  Why, you ask?  Because née is the feminine form of the past participle of French naître "to be born", so that "Julia Winters née Summers" means, literally, "Julia Winters born [Julia] Summers".  It first turns up in the written record in 1758.

From: “Take Our Word for It”, Issue 169, page 2