One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounUnited States Regional
A bench in a church or meeting house on which those people sit who wish to confess and repent their sins publicly at a prayer meeting or service; a mourner's bench.
1920s; earliest use found in William Faulkner (1897–1962), short-story writer and novelist. Alteration of mourner's bench, after moaner, probably arising from U.S. regional (southern) pronunciation of mourner.
moaner's bench/ˈməʊnəz ˌbɛn(t)ʃ/
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