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Prestige

PRESTIGE, influence and authority exercised by reason of high reputation. It is one of the few words which have gained a meaning superior to that of original usage. The word in French, from which it has been borrowed by English, as in Latin praesligium or praestigiae, meant jugglers' tricks, deceit, imposture, and so is found in the 16th century. The Latin stands for praestrigium, from praestringere, to bind or fasten tight, hence to blindfold; others derive from praestinguere, to darken, obscure, deceive. The word was at first generally used as foreign and italicized; thus the New English Dictionary quotes Sir Walter Scott (Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk, 1815) for the earliest example in English of the modern usage, " Napoleon needed the dazzling blaze of decisive victory to renew the charm or prestige . . . once attached to his name and fortunes." Other words derived from praestigium through the French retain the original meaning of juggling or conjuring (see PRESTIDIGITATION).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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