One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Lineage, descent, or rank; especially noble or high lineage. Also: the qualities of courtesy, generosity, etc., held to be proper to a person of noble lineage. Now historical.
2Feudal Law. A system of land tenure under which a fief is divided among brothers, the younger brothers holding from the eldest by right of equality, and the eldest rendering fealty to the lord in respect of the whole fief.
Middle English; earliest use found in Body and Soul. From Anglo-Norman parage, perage and Old French, Middle French, French parage (noble) descent, equality of conditions among brothers in spite of the unequal division of inheritance, tenure of a fief shared by brothers under which the fief is not divided with respect to the lord from pair equal + -age.
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