November 14, 2012
prestige (noun)
\preh-STEEZH\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: importance in the eyes of other people
How do you use it?
The prestige of the school newspaper grew as the staff worked hard to present interesting and well-written stories.
Are you a word wiz?

English borrowed the word "prestige" from French, but the French adopted their word from the Latin word "praestigiae." What do you think "praestigiae" means?

It wasn't magic that changed the Latin word for "magician's tricks" into our word "prestige." French speakers adopted the Latin "praestigiae" as "prestige" to mean "illusion produced by magic" or "enchantment or charm." From there, presto change-o, it developed the meaning "charm of a dazzling personality" and then the more general meaning of "ability to create an impression." English speakers adopted the word and its "illusion" meaning from French in the 17th century. By the 19th century, English speakers were also using "prestige" to mean "ability to create an impression." English speakers now use "prestige" most often to mean "importance in the eyes of other people."
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