Words that end in "-AGE"
While plowing through a pile of words, I came upon yet another odd
word ending in -age and thought I ought to put a few of them
in a little corral where I can admire them a bit. An entire family
of these words seem to refer to old English customs of taxation,
servitude, or privilege, and presumably reflected the dominant role
of Norman French. Borrowings from French continued for centuries.
agiotage - the manipulation of stock prices;
ajutage - a tube through which water is discharged.
alienage - the legal status of being an alien or
noncitizen resident of a country;
ambage - a circuitous route; a roundabout way of speaking.
amenage - to domesticate or tame (to make amenable?).
appanage - a king's money or land, set aside for the
subsistence of his younger sons who do not inherit the main
properties (literally, "for bread"). This system became quite
elaborate in France, and the appanage might be a significant
territory, which became reluctant to submit to the rule of the
king, and was spun off to the descendants of the younger prince.
Naturally, the kings were eager to reincorporate appanages into
the royal territory; at the least, they were taken back when
there were no further male heirs.
aulnage - the official measurement and inspection of
cloth, or a payment for this service;
avenage - a payment in oats, in lieu of rent.
average - on a trading ship, after a storm in which some
goods have been thrown overboard to lighten the ship, an
average is the contribution made by the remaining
merchants to those who lost goods. (Defined in this sense
in Johnson's Dictionary)
badinage - informal conversation, joking banter
bariolage - a medley.
barrage - a dam, a wall or obstruction. The only meetings
I had with this word always involved artillery, so I would have
guessed it meant "heavy fire", but the cognates of "barricade",
"barrier" and "bar" should have warned me. This sometimes also
appears as barage.
bavardage - chatter; idle talk.
Bertillonage - the careful taking, recording, and indexing
of physical measurements, used to identify criminals, as pioneered
by Alphonse Bertillon.
blindage - a protective cover for a trench.
blocage - in masonry, the roughest and cheapest sort
blurbiage - a humorous portmanteau word, combining
"blurb" and "verbiage", to suggest the vacuous praise that
appears on the backs of books.
bocage - a decorative motif of foliage.
bouffage - a satisfying, filling meal.
borage - a(n) herb.
bordage - the menial service rendered by a bordar in
in return for which he held his cottage.
bossage - the use of bosses in architecture.
bricolage - a construction that uses the materials at
hand; a "do-it-yourself" construction; a construction by
trial and error;
brocage - a pimp's wages; the trade in used goods.
brockage - an imperfectly minted coin.
buoyage - a fee for the use of a buoy for mooring a boat.
burelage - a network of lines or dots printed on stamp paper
to deter counterfeiters.
burgage - tenure of real property, especially a house, in
return for yearly rent or service, often involving property held
directly of the king.
bushelage - a tax paid on commodities by the bushel.
butlerage - a tax of two shillings for each tun of wine
from any ship importing 20 tuns or more. This tax was payable
to the king's butler. The tax evolved from an earlier tax in kind,
known as prisage.
cabotage - the trade or shipping along the coast; the
exclusive rights of a country to control the air traffic within
cabotinage - exaggerated acting; staginess
careenage - the process of beaching a ship and laying it
on its side, so as to expose the hull for cleaning and repair;
a fee for careenage; a place for careenage;
carnage - violent, bloody conflict;
cartage - a fee for transportation by cart;
carucage - the act of plowing; a tax on every plow or
cellarage - a fee charged for storage of goods in a
cellar; in particular, fees paid by the attendees at the Lord
Mayor's feast to the butleer and yeomen of the cellar;
chantage - blackmail;
chiminage - a toll paid for passage through a forest;
chomage - the stopping of work by laborers at a factory;
chummage - the quartering of persons together in the
same room; the fee a new prisoner must pay to old ones;
circlage - a suture used to hold the cervix shut, in cases
where premature labor is a danger (Thanks to "Nip/Tuck");
colportage - the distribution of religious books.
commonage - the right to graze cattle on the village
cordage - the cords and rope of a ship that constitute its
rigging; an amount of wood, measured in cords;
corkage - a fee applied by a restaurant to bottles of
wine brought in by a customer.
cornage - the obligation to stand watch along the Scottish
border, and to sound a horn on the approach of Scottish warriors.
cousinage - a tradition in Mali of defusing rivalries and
resentments by making one's competitors into honorary cousins.
cranage - the right to use a crane to unload goods from
a ship, in return for payment.
crannage - the amount of herrings, in crans. A cran, in
turn, is about 750 herrings, or 37.5 Imperial gallons.
cubage - the determination of the volume of a shape;
cuinage - the stamping, by the appropriate official, of
pigs of tin with the coat of arms of the duchy of Cornwall.
cullage - the material removed during culling; bruised
apples, lame sheep, moldy cheese;
culliage - a Scottish custom allowing the lord of the
manor to lie with the vassal's bride on the first night; or
the cost of a payment to remit this right.
culvertage - the degradation of a vassal down to the
status of a serf.
curtilage - a yard belonging to and adjacent to a house;
the enclosed area around a building; such an area may have
special legal restraints that do not apply to the common
demurrage - the detention of a ship by the freighter
beyond the time needed for loading or unloading, or a penalty
paid in compensation for this delay;
doobage - the liberal application of doobies, that is,
doomage - a legal penalty for neglect;
drayage - the transportation of bulky goods, originally
in a horse-drawn cart or dray; but even now, the
Los Angeles Coroner's department describes as "drayage"
the service of emptying the apartment of a dead person
with no known relatives.
dressage - an elaborate and formalized style of
horseriding suitable for display, not transportation!;
dunnage - the baggage and personal effects that Mr
Hornblower carries onto his new ship; originally, the
material such as brushwood or mats used to protect valuable
or fragile cargo;
eatage - the right to use grassland for pasturage.
effleurage - gentle rubbing with the palm of the hand.
esclavage - a heavy necklace resembling a slave's chains.
escomatage - sleight of hand.
etage - a floor or story of a building;
etalage - merchandise displayed in a show window.
faldage - the right of the lord of a manor to require
tenants to pasture their sheep on the lord's fields (so that
the fields would be properly manured), a fold being provided
for them. In later years, this was also the name of a payment
made for a waiver of this right.
fallage - the felling of trees;
flobbage - phlegm and other matter expelled from the
flowage - the moving waters of an entire river system,
such as "the Mississippi flowage has been invaded by the
Asiatic leaping carp".
fossage - a tax paid by the residents of a moated town
to pay for cleaning the moat.
fouage - a tax on "fire", that is, on chimneys or hearths.
At least it was easy for the tax collector to spot and count the
number of chimneys in a village and assess the owners. Edward
the Black Prince levied an ill-advised fouage of his subjects
to pay off debts from one of his daring and pointless ravages
freinage - slowdowns, interference, or sabotage by
frottage - a sexual deviancy in which one rubs up against
strangers in crowded areas; from the French "frotteur", a
gavage - feeding by means of a stomach tube; how they
kept protesters for Women's Rights from starving themselves
to death, and how they make foie gras.
gilravage - to celebrate noisily.
griffinage - the state of being a newly arrived
European in India.
griffinage or griffonage - illegible handwriting.
grillage, a lattice of steel or iron beams or rods,
used to strengthen a concrete supporting slab.
hallage - a fee paid for goods sold in a covered market;
harberage or harbergage - lodging or entertainment.
hidage - a tax paid to the king for every hide of land.
A hide was an old area measurement.
homage - with a root in the word "homme" for "man,
homage originally referred to the duty of one who holds
land under the feudal system of presenting himself to his
liege lord. This man to man presentation was meant to
formally acknowledge the positions of the subject and lord.
When the kings of England held feudal territory in France,
they had to go from time to time, in person, to France to pay
homage to the French king.
housage - storage of goods, or a fee for such storage.
jettage - a fee for the use of a jetty.
keepage - things worth saving during a general cleaning,
the opposite of garbage; the action of saving
data that would normally be discarded; the keeping or storing
kippage - commotion, uproar.
lackage - a discrepancy between the mandated and actual
weight of coins.
langrage - a kind of shot consisting of a canister of
irregular pieces of iron, used to wreck sails and rigging.
lappage - the amount by which successive layers (of
shingles, for instance) overlap.
lettage - the letting, or leasing, or property.
lockage - a toll for passing through a lock.
louage - a shared taxi-cab, a common means of travel
lovage - a European apiaceous herb, last seen headlining
the play "Lettice and Lovage". The Middle English name was
loveache which in turn was derived from the Latin
ligusticum which apparently merely meant "Ligurian".
maquillage - makeup, though by the sound of it, the most
ghastly and artificial kind.
manurage - cultivation of land.
maritage - the right of a feudal lord to dispose in
marriage of the heiress, minor heir or widow of a vassal,
or the payment made for a waiver of this right.
menage - a group of people living together;
messuage - a mansion house, its adjacent outbuildings,
and grounds; etymologically, there is a suggestion that this
word came about as a misreading of menage;
metage - the official measurement of an object's contents
or weight, or the charge made for computing this measurement.
millage - a tax on the thousandth part of the value of
moulage - the making of molds for criminal investigations.
mumblage - that which is mumbled; that which is worthy of
murage - a tax levied to pay for building or repairing the
walls of a fortified city.
naulage - the freight of the passengers on a ship, or
payment for the transport of such freight.
nonage - a ninth part; the state of legal minority.
orage - a storm.
ossifrage - an osprey, or "bone breaker", which supposedly
breaks open the bones of its prey for the marrow.
paage - a trespassing fee
pannage - the right to pasture hogs in the common forest
during the time when acorns are falling;
paunage - a variant spelling of "pannage";
pavage - a tax levied to pay for the paving of highways.
paysage - any sort of landscape painting.
peage or pedage - a toll for the right of passage.
pelage - an animal's hair or fur coat.
pewage - an annual rent paid to a church for the use of a
pollage - a head tax
pommage - apple cider.
pontage - a toll paid on bridges for their upkeep and
potage - soup.
poundage - an import duty levied by the English Crown.
primage - a fee paid by a shipper to a ship's captain for
loading and caring for the freight. It is also called
prisage - the right of the English king to take one tun of
wine from any ship importing 10 to 20 tuns, or two
tuns of wine from any ship importing 20 tuns or more.
pucelage - virginity.
puffinage - the jocular name for the worthless postage
stamps of Lundy, an island in the Bristol Channel of disputed
sovereignty. The stamps had puffins on them, and were suitable
to get a letter from Lundy to the docks of Ilfracombe (not far).
Once on undisputed British soil, they had the same status as
putage - the fornication or prostitution of a woman
putrilage - that which is being putrefied.
ramage - the boughs of a tree.
remplissage - artistic padding;
remuage - the process of regularly turning wine bottles
in storage so that the sediment collects at the cork end.
rivage - a bank, shore or coast.
romage - a tumult
scavage - a toll extracted from merchant strangers.
scutage - a tax paid by the holder of a knight's fee
in lieu of military service; "scutage" has the same root as "scutum"
which means "shield" in Latin;
shroffage - a fee paid for the service of examining
coins and separating out the counterfeits;
sideage - a charge made for parking railroad cars
on a siding.
silage - any green crop harvested, compressed, fermented
and stored for fodder.
smallage - a wild celery.
snappage - a share in the booty (recorded in the 17th
socage - the holding of land by agricultural service,
and not requiring military service; the first year of a hawk.
sockage - liquid manure.
squattage/b> - the house and land belonging to a farmer;
staffage - the decorative accessories in a picture;
details added later to a painting;
stockage - the practice of placing cattle in an area
where they can sustain themselves by eating grass and other
crops already growing there.
stramage - rushes which are to be strewn on the floor
as a covering.
stumpage - a price paid for the timber in a forest;
sullage - filth, silt, drainage or runoff from streets;
tallage - an occasional tax levied by the Anglo-Norman
kings on crown lands and royal towns;
termage - winnings at crooked gambling, especially
cheating at bowls or cards;
thanage - the tenure by which a thane held land;
thirlage was an extra layer of medieval servitude, in
which the tenants of a sucken (no typo there!) were required
to carry all the grain grown there to a particular mill, have
it ground there, and pay the customary fees. Those were
happy, happy days.
treillage - latticework to support vines;
tronage is a medieval toll, paid by the compulsory
weighing of coarse goods on the public trone.
trucage is the forgery of works of art.
tunage, music - as in "We need tunage!", from
"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle".
ullage is the amount by which a cask of wine is not full;
from the old English "eullage/oillage", to fill a cask, from the
old French "ouil" for "eye", meaning the bunghole.
umbrage, literally "shade" or "cover" (as in "umbrella"
and "penumbra"), this word is now used to denote a feeling
of being slighted, belittled, or mistreated, and the agitated
insistent response to such perceived mishandling.
vendage, used by Auden in the poem "Good-bye to the
To bless this region, its vendages, and those
Who call it home:
vicinage - the neighborhood.
viduage - widowhood.
vigerage - more commonly known now as "vigorish" - is a
loan shark's rate of interest, or the size of the weekly
payments. At one time, a rate of 20 percent applied, in the
sense that a $5 loan was made, to be repaid at the rate of a
dollar a week for six weeks, so that five would get you six.
visage - the face, or its expression;
windage - in archery, allowance in aiming for the effect
of the wind; in artillery, allowance for the discrepancy between
the size of the cannonball and the cannon boring, which reduces
the power of the shot.
windowage, a joking term, supposedly part of the verbose
and flowery terminology of pretentious real estate agents. The
term appears in a cartoon by William Haefeli in the New Yorker,
7 June 2004, in the caption
"As you can see, it has excellent windowage."
as an agent shows an apartment to a couple.
Not ready for prime time:
anlage ([German loanword] the first traces of an organ
in the embryo)
Apinage - an Indian tribe of Brazil
Stan Brakhage (an experimental film maker)
cowage or cowhage - a bristly plant used as a mechanical vermifuge!
gurage - a Semitic language spoken in southern Ethiopia
sparage - a variant of "asparagus".
Swanage - a town in England.
Wantage - a town in southern England,
birthplace of Alfred the Great.
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Last modified on 03 September 2009.