late 14c., "pertaining to a household," from Anglo-French meignial, from Old French mesnie "household," earlier mesnede, from Vulgar Latin *mansionata, from Latin mansionem "dwelling" (see mansion). Compare Middle English meine "a household, household servants" (c. 1300; also "chessmen"), from Anglo-French meine, Old French maisniee. From early 15c. as "belonging to a retinue or train of servants." Sense of "lowly, humble, servile, suited to a servant" is recorded by 1670s.