Marriage, Poker and Latin

            Marriage, poker and Latin. 

            There’s a theme here.  I promise.  Of sorts, anyway.

            Just the other day, I was reading a little bit of law and came across, once again, the word “antenuptials.”  That got me to wondering.

            I’ve heard a whole lot about prenuptials but not about antenuptials.  So, I wondered what the difference was.

            Most of us have heard about prenuptials, or prenups, even if we don’t know anyone who ever signed ‘em.  We know they are agreements two people sign before they get married to determine who gets what if the marriage doesn’t work out. 

            I wasn’t sure about the other word – antenuptials – though. 

            In high school, I took the typing course, just so I wouldn’t have to take Latin.  Turns out that it was a great decision because I’ve used typing in just about everything I’ve done since then.

            But typing hasn’t helped me figure out words and meanings; Latin might have done that. 

            So, as I was wondering about antenuptials, I thought about playing poker and certain other card games.  A player puts his chips – or money – in the pot before the hand begins.  That’s called “ante-ing up.” (Gee, I’ve never tried to spell that word before; it looks odd.)

            Over at the state house in Columbia, there’s a small room just outside the Senate chamber.  It’s called the “antechamber.”  It’s a little conference room just before the big chamber.  So, I was thinking that “ante” must have something to do with “before.”

            And most of us have heard of “antebellum,” typically used to describe those big Southern mansions that existed before the Civil War.  There we have it:  “before.”
            Just a few weeks ago, I had spinal surgery called “anterior cervical fusion.”  There was another “ante-something.”  Since the surgeon went in through the throat area to work on the cervical spine, I guessed “anterior” meant before, which it does.  It means before or in front of.  It’s the opposite of “posterior,” and that, of course, means behind.

            And then, right in the midst of all of this wondering, the word “antelope” came to mind.  An antelope is a big animal with horns.  But, if a person “lopes,” he is just running along.

            So, after all of this wondering, I don’t know how the antelope got its name; I know that antenuptials and prenuptials are the same thing.

            And I know that marriage and poker have a lot in common.


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