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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2014-07-28 11:58:36

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1558

"in consort with" for "in concert with"

In the protocol governing royalty, a companion to a reigning king or queen receives the title of consort, whether Prince, King, Queen or Princess, with all the byzantine rules of order and privilege attendant upon them. Verbed, the word takes on much darker shadings. You consort with thieves and with prostitutes, you devil, you. Either way, I think it’s often uninentionally funny to be talking consorts in the eggcornish formulation, act in consort with in place of the alternative, in concert with. As in the following example seen in the “A Word A Day” comments of the week:

A delightfully ambiguous term; one must be an insider to be sure whether it means the UK Government or the Civil Service or both acting in consort or occasionally at loggerheads.
AWAD comment

Hold the presses: I see that this one has been mentioned on Languge Log back in ‘10. According to that post, consort may have been the pre-17th century acorn. I had looked for in consort with post 1800, where it is vanishingly rare though growing in popularity ; the pre-1800 n-gram sheds no light on which was the original, once again, they seem to have been born roughly together.



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