One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The Republican form of government in France; (by extension) the French Republic personified.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881), prime minister and novelist. From French Marianne, personification of the French Republic, usually portrayed as a female figure wearing a Phrygian cap, specifically application of the female forename Marianne; the reason for its adoption is not known for certain.
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