Hmm! ‘Hymeneal magnificence,’ What kind of magnificence is that?<1835 “. . . and the sky is blue, when the population of Paris issues from its cells to swarm along the boulevards . . . through the Rue de la Paix towards the Tuileries, saluting the hymeneal magnificence which the country puts on; . . .”—The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac, page 15 of the 2012 translation by Ellen Marriage>
adjective: Of or relating to a wedding or marriage; nuptial, connubial.
noun: (Some dictionaries say archaic and some don’t) A wedding song or poem; wedding; nuptials.
First known use: 1602
Etymology: From Latin hymenaeus marriage, wedding song, from Greek hyménaios Hymen Hymen (Greek god of marriage, a fold of mucous membrane partly closing the external orifice of the vagina in a virgin) + -aios pertaining to + -al
(Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, Dictionary.com, American Heritage Dictionary, and thefreedictionary.com)
The use of ‘hymeneal magnificence’ in the above quote seems a bit of a stretch for the use of the word, but I guess ‘wedding-like magnificence’ for a country or a city, although a bit hyperbolic, is conceivable.
Note: Not to be confused with ‘hymenal’: Of or relating to the hymen of anatomy - the fold of mucous membrane that partly covers the entrance to the vagina and is usually ruptured when sexual intercourse takes place for the first time.
In searching for quotes, I found that in recent years the use of this word has kind of petered out and thus its unfamiliarity. In searching for recent quotes in archives I found precious few. So, this may not be the most useful word to add to your vocabulary, but here you have it anyway. (>:)
The following quotes are from archived sources:
______________________________<1799 “Some idea may be formed of the magnificence of the new Duchess of Rutland's Hymeneal wardrobe, from the circumstance of one morning handkerchief costing sixty guineas.”—Aris's Birmingham Gazette, May>
<2004 “‘How hymeneal was it, this marriage of yours?’ whisper the intimately malicious voices Cytherea seems to hear, with narrative interest heavily invested in such ultimate intimacies.”—The Secret Life of Thomas Hardy: 'Retaliatory Fiction' by Edward Neill, page 5>
<2007 “Congratulations to popular R&B singer Usher, who proposed to his long-time girlfriend, Tameka Foster, this week. Tentative plans are set for a hymeneal celebration later this year.”—The Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Florida), 7 April>
<2011“Why concentrate on hymeneal blood . . . the great tragedy of Alfonso and Ena's marriage was that she was a carrier of hemophilia and that two of their sons were afflicted by it.”—The Washington Times (Washington, DC), 8 April 8>
<2015 “She says gynecologists who work with patients old enough to marry will see some of them ask for hymeneal virginity tests. Most are from other countries or subscribe to religions that see virginity as a wedding must-have.”—Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), 22 October, page T18>
Ken Greenwald – February 19, 2019