Mashing an Old Cliche`

Mashing an Old Cliche`

For the past couple of weeks, an old cliche` has been running through my head like a refrain from a song sometimes does. Over and over. I’m so tired of it clanging about in there that I decided to see if writing about it will banish it. Maybe it will transfer to yours!

The maddening phrase is – to the manor born. This, of course, refers back to feudal times, when the lord and his family lived in the big house, the manor, in relative luxury and the serfs lived in comparative squalor on the land the lord owned. The phrase specifically indicated a person was born to wealth, luxury, aristocracy, to superiority — or acted as such.

A few years ago, a friend asked me to proof-read an article in which she had used the phrase, which I guessed she’d heard, but not read, as she used to the manner born. Her usage intrigued me. In her context, it conveyed a similar meaning, but in another context it could convey a different meaning. Manor, in the phrase, has more specificity than manner. You could use to the manner born in another context to indicate a similarity to any behavior. For instance, a rude girl whose mother is known to be rude, could be said to be to the manner born.

It isn’t as though I have occasion to use either phrase often, so why is this bouncing around my cranial regions! Begone! Begone! Banishment!