"newly married man" (especially one who had seemed a confirmed bachelor), 1821, from the character Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing" (1599). The name is from Late Latin Benedictus, literally "blessed," from Latin benedicte "bless (you)" (see benediction). This also produced the proper name and surname Bennet; hence also benet (late 14c.), the third of the four lesser orders of the Roman Catholic Church, one of whose functions was to exorcize spirits.
updated on May 16, 2017