Tag Archives: meanings

Bonny and buxom? The answer to yesterday’s trivia

Yesterday I asked what the possible meaning of the marital contract promise, “to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board.” This was a phrase found in a 1085 marriage contract overseen by the bishop of Salisbury, per the report of David Instone-Brewer in Divorce & Remarriage in the Church.

As I said yesterday, I would have gone with an interpretation similar to Jess’ offering. But here is his interpretation:

Bonny: french for good. Buxom: German for obedient or compliant. “In bed and at board” means in the evening and in meals. Board apparently refers to sideboard where food would be kept. So, he suggests it is a promise to be good all day long and to feed the husband well.

Actually, buxom could be flexible…maybe there was another connotation after all.

Seriously, this ought to remind us that when we read the Scriptures (and this is Instone-Brewer’s point) if we are unaware of the common meanings of words at that time, we’re likely to mis-interpret their meaning.


Filed under marriage