“Reason to rule, but mercy to forgive;/The first is law, the last prerogative.”*

*John Dryden, in “The Hind and the Panther” (1687).

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

“prerogative (n.)

“special right or privilege granted to someone; characteristic right inhering in one’s nature, office, or position,” late 14c., prerogatif, (in Anglo-Latin from late 13c.), from Old French prerogative (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prerogativa “special right,” from Latin praerogativa “prerogative, previous choice or election, privilege.”

This was originally (with tribus, centuria) “unit of 100 voters who by lot voted first in the Roman comita,” noun use of fem. of praerogativus (adj.) “chosen to vote first, that is asked before,” from praerogere “ask before others,” from prae “before” (see pre-) + rogare “to ask, ask a favor,” apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally “to stretch out (the hand),” from root *reg– “move in a straight line.” In Middle English also “an innate faculty or property which especially distinguishes someone or something.” “.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s