One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A formal agreement or treaty made between royal or noble families, or between members of the same royal or noble family. Now chiefly with lower-case initials.
2Specifically. Any one of a series of three treaties made in the 18th cent. between the Bourbon dynasties of France and Spain and their allies for common action, especially against Britain and Austria; an alliance resulting from one of these treaties.
3(The name given to) a small closed group of Tory politicians and officials who exercised extensive political power in Upper Canada in the first part of the 19th cent. Hence (with lower-case initials): any political clique.
Mid 18th century. From family + compact, after French pacte de famille family alliance, Spanish pacto de familia, or Italian patto di famiglia family alliance.
Family Compact/ˌfam(ɪ)li ˈkɒmpakt//ˌfam(ə)li ˈkɒmpakt/
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