Where does the word “alimony” come from and What does it mean?

Someone has said that alimony is no more than a telescoping of “all the money.”

It may seem so to a man who has little left after his former wife has received the monthly allowance awarded to her.

Actually, however, the Latin alimonia was just a new-fangled spelling, two thousand years ago, of the older alimentum. Both of them, in those days, had the same meaning, nourishment, sustenance, provisions. From the first has come alimony, from the other, aliment.

Thus the real intent of the word alimony is an allowance that will provide aliment, or a means of living.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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