One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In 18th- and 19th-cent. Louisiana: the custom among many white men of setting up a black or mixed-race woman in her own household in addition to or in place of a wife.
2In Haiti: a relationship similar to marriage but without religious sanction and conferring fewer legal rights upon the female partner, often polygynous and short-lived.
1930s. From French plaçage placing, allotment from placer + -age (compare placer to make a part of a family by marriage, to provide with a situation or job, (nonstandard) placé married, living together or in concubinage).
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