What Does the Word “Alimony” Mean and Where Did the Term For Support Payments Come From?

The court often orders the chief provider of a divorcing couple to pay an allowance to the other.

This sum of money is called alimony because it literally keeps the recipient alive.

In Latin the word alimony means “nourishment” or “sustenance.”

The term palimony was coined in 1979 to apply to the separation of film star Lee Marvin (1924-1987) from a long-time live-in lover.

Palimony applies the same rules to an unmarried couple who have coexisted equally and contributed to the couple’s success.