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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English meine, meyne, from Anglo-Norman maigné, meyné et al., Old French mesnie (household), from Vulgar Latin *mānsiōnāta, from Latin mānsiō, mānsiōn (house). Compare menial.



meinie (plural meinies)

  1. (now rare, Scotland, Ireland) A household, or family.
    • a. 1472, Thomas Malory, “Capitulum lxiv”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book X, [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, page 525:
      And whanne they in the caſtel wyſte hou ſire Palomydes had ſped there was a Ioyeful meyny / and ſoo ſir Palomydes departed / and came to the caſtell of Lonaȝep
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
  2. (archaic or historical) A retinue.
    • 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Manciples Tale”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], OCLC 230972125; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, [], [London]: [] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes [], 1542, OCLC 932884868, folio xcix, recto, column 2:
      That for the tyraunt is of greater might / By force of meyne, to ſlee downe right / And brenne houſe & home, & make al playn, / Lo therfore is he called a capitayne / And for the outlawe hath but ſmal meyne / And maie not do ſo great an harm, as he / Ne brynge a countrey to ſo great miſchefe / Men callen him an outlawe or a thefe
      That because the tyrant is of greater might / By force of retinue, to slay downright / And burn house and home, and make all level / Lo therefore is he called a captain / And because the outlaw has but a small retinue / And may not do so great a harm as he [the tyrant] / Nor bring a country to so great mischief / Men call him an outlaw or a thief
    • 1965, Jack Robert Lander, The Wars of the Roses:
      And in the evening they went with their simple captain to his lodging; but a certain of his simple and rude meinie abode there all the night [...].
  3. (now Scotland) A crowd of people; a rabble.
    • 1608, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Coriolanus, [Act III, scene i]:
      For the mutable ranke-ſented Meynie, / Let them regard me, as I doe not flatter, / And therein behold themſelues.