One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Roman Law. Those articles of property held by a wife over and above the dowry she brought to her husband, and which remained under her own control.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Phillips's New World of Words. From classical Latin paraferna goods held by a wife over and above her dowry from Hellenistic Greek παράϕερνα (neuter plural) from ancient Greek παρα- + ϕερνή dowry from the base of ϕέρειν to bring + -νη-, suffix forming nouns.
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