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Etymology 1[edit]

From Anglo-Norman nounage, corresponding to non- +‎ age.



nonage (plural nonages)

  1. The state of being under legal age; minority, the fact of being a minor. [from 15th c.]
    • 1586, William Warner, “The First. Chapter I.”, in Albions England. Or Historicall Map of the Same Island: [], London: [] George Robinson [and R. Ward] for Thomas Cadman, [], →OCLC, page 2:
      His vvarlike vvife Simeramis, her huſband being dead, / And ſonne in nonage, faining him ſhe ruled in his ſtéede: / Delating in a males attire the Empire nevve begonne: / The vvhich, his yeares admitting it, ſhe yealded to her ſonne.
    • c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene iii]:
      In him there is a hope of government, / That in his nonage council under him, / And in his full and ripen'd years himself, / No doubt, shall then and till then govern well.
    • c. 1608, John Donne, A Litany, stanza VI, "The Angels" in The Poems of John Donne, edited by Edmund Kerchever Chambers, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896, [1]
      And since this life our nonage is, / And we in wardship to Thine angels be, / Native in heaven's fair palaces / Where we shall be but denizen'd by Thee;
    • 1723, Charles Walker, Memoirs of the Life of Sally Salisbury:
      The other he used to recreate himself with, after he had been solemnly Contracted to his intended Spouse who was in her Nonage, and kept her till his Wife was ripe for Consummation.
    • 1917, James Cabell, chapter 39, in The Cream of the Jest[2], New York: Modern Library, published 1922, page 235:
      Romancers, from Time's nonage, have invented and have manipulated a host of staple severances for their puppet lovers []
    • 1888–1891, Herman Melville, “[Billy Budd, Foretopman.] Chapter XVII.”, in Billy Budd and Other Stories, London: John Lehmann, published 1951, →OCLC:
      Which appeal caused but a strange dumb gesturing and gurgling in Billy; amazement at such an accusation so suddenly sprung on inexperienced nonage []

Etymology 2[edit]

From Late Latin nonagium, from nōnus (ninth).


nonage (plural nonages)

  1. (obsolete, rare) A payment formerly made to the parish clergy upon the death of a parishioner, consisting of a ninth of the movable goods.