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Confarreation

Definition: To enter into a contract with a ceremony of cake (esp. Wedding).

Pronunciation: –con-far-ee-aay-shin

Origin: 16th century

Why this word?

Usually, a good, unused word gives you a new way to describe something for which you already have a seemingly good, serviceable word. However, this word is somewhat unusual in that not only the word, but also the scene it describes are somewhat obsolete.

In ancient Rome, the highest form of marriage ceremony was that taking place in front of the Pontifex Maximus and involved the exchange of cake or bread. Indeed, it seems that our modern-day wedding ceremonies have retained this tradition – though it’s significance has been somewhat diminished. Nowadays, we tend to come together under the eyes of a deity and symbolize the coming together with an exchange of rings. I myself, however, wish that we could return to the halcyon days when it was all about the cake.

How and when to use this word in a sentence:

This is a word that could be used again. If you are printing your wedding invitations, why not invite people to the service, the meal and the confarreation? Indeed, purists and those who just really like cake, could dispense with the word ‘wedding’ altogether and simply call it a confarreation – plain and simple.  I believe that it’s time for this cake-related word to rise once again.

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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!

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