Posted: 21 January 2018 11:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  862
Joined  2013-10-14

I’m reading a book on English words from Latin and Greek elements and I came upon a very interesting etymology for this word; it comes from peculium, which was the private property given to a person; it was eventually generalized to the meaning of a person’s individual characteristic. The word is derived from pecus, “cattle,” which demonstrates its antiquity because at one time property consisted mainly of sheep and cows.


Origin: A borrowing from Latin. Etymon: Latin pecūlium.
Etymology: < classical Latin pecūlium money or property managed by a person incapable of legal ownership, private property, in post-classical Latin also the people of God (6th cent.) < pecū flock, herd, (plural) farm animals, occasionally also money ( < the same Indo-European base as FEE n.1) + a suffix of uncertain origin. With sense 1 compare earlier PECULIAR n. 3a.
Ancient etymologists (e.g. Varro De Lingua Latina 5. 95) explain the derivation of Latin pecūlium as due to the fact that wealth originally consisted in livestock; this is supported by the prevalent senses of the other words from this Indo-European base (see FEE n.1).
(Show Less)
Thesaurus »
Categories »

1. That which is allocated to a particular individual; a private or exclusive possession; (also) the particular concern of an individual. Also fig. Now literary and hist.In some later instances, influenced by sense 2. In religious contexts, cf. PECULIAR PEOPLE n.

Posted: 21 January 2018 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1259
Joined  2007-03-01

An example of the early sense of the word is the small number of Church of England churches and chapels which don’t form part of any bishop’s diocese but fall under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch; these are known as Royal Peculiars.

Posted: 22 January 2018 01:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  1623
Joined  2007-01-29

There’s one in the North Yorkshire village of Masham. Hence the local brew, Old Peculier.

You may be familiar with the Theakston’s beer, but Old Peculier has a story. Masham was given to the Minster of York in the medieval period but, as the Archbishop did not wish to make the long journey north to oversee the town’s affairs, the parish was designated a Peculier. This meant it had its own ecclesiastical court and governed its own affairs. After the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII granted jurisdiction of this court to the masters and fellows of Trinity College Cambridge. College House, on College Lane was the former Peculier Court of the Prebend of Masham. One of the oldest areas of Masham, College Lane was once partly owned by Trinity College Cambridge. To this day, the Vicar cannot be ordered to attend the Archbishop but must be formally invited. As well as the beer, the Peculier also lives on in the Masham Four and Twenty – the Peculier Court which now functions mainly to aid charitable causes.

Posted: 03 February 2018 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  1673
Joined  2007-03-21

A hymn I grew up with was “Jesus shall Reign” written by Isaac Watts, early 18th c. One of the lines is “Let every creature rise and bring / peculiar honors to our King” It never occurred to me to ask why we should be instructed to bring strange and odd things to our King.

Also “Here I raise my Ebeneezer” in “Come thou Font” had an odd, somewhat ribald, ring to it as I entered my adolescence.

‹‹ Brexit pronunciation      Raspberry ››