One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A married woman.
- ‘Yet legal terms and procedures were also expected to respect a married woman's special status as a feme covert, a covered woman.’
- ‘It would not be advisable to select a feme covert as trustee.’
- ‘However, a London custom from the Middle Ages let women trade as individuals, converting the wife of a freeman ‘from the servile status of feme covert into feme sole merchant’ with the legal rights of an independent trader.’
Early 16th century: from Anglo-Norman French, literally ‘a woman covered (i.e. protected by marriage)’.
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