"act of speaking well of or blessing; invocation of divine blessing," c. 1400, benediccioun, from Late Latin benedictionem (nominative benedictio), "a blessing," noun of action from benedicere (in classical Latin two words, bene dicere) "to speak well of, bless," from bene "well" (from PIE root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor, revere") + dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly").
The oldest sense in English is of grace before meat. French re-Latinized its form of the word in 16c.; the older French form, beneiçon passed into Middle English as benison.
updated on October 07, 2022
Dictionary entries near benediction