neck-verse

noun

: a verse usually consisting of the first lines of a Latin version of the 51st psalm formerly set before an accused person claiming benefit of clergy so that the person might vindicate his claim by an intelligent reading aloud of the verse before examiners

Word History

Etymology

Middle English neke verse; from the possibility of its saving the accused person's neck

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Dictionary Entries Near neck-verse

Cite this Entry

“Neck-verse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neck-verse. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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