ar·​ri·​ère-ban ˌa-rē-ər-ˈbän How to pronounce arrière-ban (audio)
: a proclamation of a king (as of France) calling his vassals to arms
also : the body of vassals summoned

Word History


borrowed from French, going back to Old French riere ban, arriereban, arier ban "body of subvassals summoned by the king," alteration (by assimilation of the first element to ariere, arriere "backward, behind") of herban, araban, arban "service due a feudal lord in place of military service," going back to an Old Low Franconian outcome of regional West Germanic *hariban- "summoning of the war band" (whence also Old High German heripan in same sense), from Germanic *harji- "armed force, host" + *banna- "calling up, summons, proclamation" — more at arrear, harry, ban entry 2

Note: The attested meaning of Old French herban, araban, etc., "service due to a feudal lord in place of military service," shows adaptation of the original call to arms to feudal conditions, under which vassals or subvassals unable to provide an armed man could pay a tax or perform another service. Compare Medieval Latin (in the Old Saxon speech area) heribannus, heribannum "war tax" (see entry in H. Tiefenbach, Altsächsisches Handwörterbuch, De Gruyter, 2010).

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arrière-ban was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near arrière-ban

Cite this Entry

“Arrière-ban.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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