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To the manner born

Posted by ESC on October 31, 2000

In Reply to: To the manor/manner born posted by Barbara on October 30, 2000

: Does anyone know whether the phrase started out as "to the manor born" or "to the manner born?" I've seen it both ways. Where did it start? What's the origin?

TO THE MANNER BORN - "Though I am native here and to the manner born, it is a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance." Hamlet by William Shakespeare. "What Hamlet means is there is more honor in breaking than in observing the custom, which is to drain a goblet of wine in a single gulp when making a toast. He finds his country's reputation for drunkenness embarrassing. The quote is commonly misused to refer to a custom more often ignored than followed." From "Dictionary of Quotations from Shakespeare" selected by Margaret Miner and Hugh Rawson (Penguin Books, New York, published by Signet, 1994).