Word of The Day for Sunday, January 16, 2011


ma•ri•tor•i•ous (ma-ri-TOR-ee-uhs)  adj

excessively fond of one's husband

from Latin maritus "married man, husband"

uxorious: excessively fond of one's wife
Synonyms: none
Related Words: marry, marital

Sentence Examples:
• There once was a man most uxorious,
Who was married to a dame quite maritorious,
This suited them fine as they wined and they dined,
And produced five offspring all rubicund! -2009

• And wherefore doe you this? To please your husband?
  Tis grosse and fulsome: if your husbands pleasure
  Be all your object, and you ayme at honour
  In living close to him, get you from Court,
  You may have him at home; these common put-ofs
  For common women serve: "my honour! husband!"
  Dames maritorious ne're were meritorious:
  Speak plaine, and say "I doe not like you, sir,
  Y'are an ill-favour'd fellow in my eye,"
  And I am answer'd.
-Bussy D'Ambois and The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, George Chapman

The Storyline
Seeing the look in Anna's eyes and then turning around, Anna's father announced, "I'm married again. This is Sara, " thus explaining the maritorious affectation of the woman in Anna's office. At this, Sara thrust out her hand toward Anna - silently and awkwardly.

Why This Word:

This is the partner to uxorious, of a man who is fond of his wife to the point of doting excess. It is much less well known, to the extent that I have had no success in finding a modern example of its use outside the books on words that cite it.
A Google search turned up what looked at first sight like a number of examples, such as the surprising statement from a school that “Medals and prizes are given to maritorious students”. It took a moment to realise that should have been meritorious. As it happens, that’s oddly relevant, since the only example of the word on record is in Bussy D’Ambois, a tragedy by George Chapman of 1607, in which he coins the word to make a bad pun: “Dames maritorious ne’re were meritorious”. 
The word to describe a husband who is excessively fond of a wife is uxorious. The word maritorious is rare, while uxorious is fairly well known. What does that say about the relative fondness of husbands and wives to each other?

Sources: WordSmith, World Wide Words

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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