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Origin of the Word Attorney February 6, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in life.

My uncle is a lawyer and a painter. Recently he got an award for his painting and in the pamphlet it was listed as an “Attroney”. Poking fun, I asked what that was and here, in typical Uncle fasion, is what came back:

    Fortunately  my regular medium was “on duty” and was able to contact my OLD law professor Julius Goebel, an expert in legal history, now buried  along with the now long defunct origins of legal jargon “in the dark backward and abysm of time.”

    “To the best of my knowledge and belief, affiant sayeth as follows:”

    The term “attroney” arrived in England at or about 1066 (Norman Conquest??) along with the quaint Norman notion that trial by combat (“le tournament”) was the best way to go since all disputes were invariably settled (“dead and buried”, so to speak).
    A certain somewhat shady breed of character was known to haunt these episodes, offering to “stand in” for the hapless accused. These initially carried the moniker: “a toro nez” or “bull nose” in honor of their noticeably pugnacious character and ability to extract hansome fees.
    While intially uncomfortable with these hangers on, the English (in true accomodating fashion) eventually accepted these “a toro nez” under the not inappropriate elsion: “Attroney.”
     Unfortunately too many of these characters would inhabit the assizes, acompanied by the perjorative: “Ah, trow ‘im out.”
    With due regard for “too close for comfort” an association was formed and, in honor of its rising influence, decreed that its members should be known as “attorney” instead of “attroney“, thereby masking in a cloak of false dignity what was obviously an occupation whose nefarious shadyness had only grown over the years.
    Naturally the rewriting of history would not be complete without a wholesale expungement of any reference to the now-hated term in any dictionary, even that of Samuel Johnson (not ever known for being comprehensive).
    Such tortured exercises are not unknown in English literature, but invariably serve a useful purpose. For example, who cannot but lament the fate of poor Frederick whose luckless apprenticeship to a “pirate” was to last until 1940? If only there had been a less confusing name!

    “Further affiant sayeth not.”



1. Gustavo+ Flores - October 8, 2008

What a crock of shit ! attorney comes from the middle English atturny and in turn from the French At tourne literally “to turn to ”

It means one who is appointed to conduct legal business on behalf of another. ( sort of the same meaning as the word delegate )
An attroney can be private, as in an individual appointed by power of attorney , or public, as a lawyer. It is not an elegant or fancy word for lawyer.

2. gordonwatts - October 8, 2008

Well… yeah — it was meant as a joke!

3. Elijah Luthor - September 1, 2009

Out of respect, but you are both wrong; you are both mistaken.

Go to http://www.healthfreedom.info/BAR%20Association.htm.

This is an excerpt for the above web address:

The root for the term “attorney” originates in Sanskrit (the oldest known language) and its original meaning was “to turn or to twist”. That meaning carried forward largely unaltered into the English language. The letter “a”, when used as a word, is defined as “an indefinite article” and when used as a prefix it equates with the word “one” (indefinite article) which modifies the base word (torn) accordingly—as does the suffix “ey”.

The extra “t” is added to separate the two vowels for proper pronunciation in accordance with the rules of English grammar. Thus, “a-(t)torn-ey” quite literally means “one who turns” (something).


Also, go to http://elijah-luthor.blogspot.com/ and read the current draft for “The American Declaration For Revolution.” God be with us all…

By the Grace of God,
Suus Illustrissimus,
Elijah Lionel Luthor I

4. leah - March 2, 2013

I believe the word attorney actually means “a twist of words”……not sure what language it’s derived from.

5. LAWYER: 1763, … | Hype Gnosis - May 22, 2014

[…] The root for the term “attorney” originates in Sanskrit (the oldest known language) and its original meaning was “to turn or to twist.” https://gordonwatts.wordpress.com/2007/02/06/origin-of-the-word-attorney/ […]

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