American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An announcement, especially in a church, of an intended marriage.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- The proclamation of intended marriage in order that those who know of any impediment thereto may state it to the proper authorities. Banns were made a part of ecclesiastical legislation by the fourth Council of the Lateran, a. d. 1215, whose decrees were confirmed by the Council of Trent. In the Roman Catholic Church the celebration of marriage without previous proclamation of the banns, unless by special dispensation, is gravely illicit, but not invalid. The proclamation is made by the parish priest of each contracting party, on three consecutive festivals during public mass. The proclamation of banns is no longer required in order to a valid civil marriage in England, Scotland, or the United States.
- The proclamation or prologue of a play.
- n. The announcement of a forthcoming marriage (legally required for a church wedding in England and Wales and read on the three Sundays preceding the marriage).
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Notice of a proposed marriage, proclaimed in a church, or other place prescribed by law, in order that any person may object, if he knows of just cause why the marriage should not take place.
- n. a public announcement of a proposed marriage
- Middle English banes, pl. of ban, proclamation, from Old English gebann and from Old French ban (of Germanic origin; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“So Little John clambered awkwardly into the quire, his short gown fluttering gaily; and he called the banns for the marriage of the maid and Allan-a-Dale once, twice, and thrice.”
“I called their banns, and in due time married them.”
“So saying, he called the banns; and, says the old ballad, lest three times should not be enough, he published them nine times o'er.”
“They were required to be published in three consecutive weeks prior to the marriage in the parish in which the groom resided and also that in which the bride resided, and both bride and groom were advised to reside at least fifteen days in their respective parishes before the banns were announced.”
“So, darling boy, do make up your mind to like the match, for I've already ordered the vicar to call the banns and sent the announcement to the Times.”
“Lay one hand on that rosy flesh again, and they'd be calling the banns by next month.”
“Now, you will laugh when I tell you positively, that within a twelvemonth I have heard called the banns of "John Smasher and Mary Smallbones;" no doubt, by this time they are "marrow bones and cleaver," what else could be expected?”
“As sure as I am Ole Nordistuen of the Hill Farms, I tell you the minister shall sooner call the banns for the fairy folk up on the Nordal forest than he shall speak such names from the pulpit as Marits and yours, you jackanapes!”
“Had this been at the beginning of the courtship, he would have withdrawn, perhaps, but now the banns were already published and the wedding day fixed, and in his home they had begun repairing and rebuilding.”
“Then she went and put up some things called banns, I believe.”
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