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Three hoorays for the royal baby

www.wordle.netThe royal baby has been born! The Prince of Cambridge (as the baby will officially be called) is third in line for the British throne after his grandfather and father.

The word royal is used in many ways, but doesn’t always signify something that relates to a king or queen or the members of their family. Here are some interesting ‘royal’ words to remember:

royal family
a family consisting of a king or a queen, and their relatives

the royal ‘we’
the use of the word ‘we’ to mean ‘I’ by a king or queen, especially in the past. People usually laugh at someone who does this, because it shows they think they are important.

royal assent
an occasion when the king or queen of the UK signs an act of parliament in order to make it an official law

The Royal Society
a British organization of important scientists

The Royal Mail
the organization in the UK that is responsible for collecting and delivering post

The Royal Mint
the institution that makes coins in the UK

but also…

royal blue
deep blue

royal commission
a committee organized by the government of the UK whose job is to consider a particular issue

royal flush
a set of the five highest playing cards from the same suit in the game of poker

royal jelly
a substance produced by bees to feed their young that some people believe has major health benefits

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Saskia Iseard


  • I hate to dampen the sunny mood, but there’s another less positive use of ‘royal’, shown in sense 2 in the dictionary. This appears in sentences like these from our corpus:
    -Of course, owning a car in London is a royal pain.
    -Getting a home PV system grid connected is a royal pain and can cost a significant proportion of the total cost.
    -Entering your phone numbers manually is a right royal pain in the neck.
    This shows up even more clearly with the adverb: you can be royally entertained or looked after – but also ‘royally screwed’, ‘royally abused’, ‘royally shafted’, and ‘royally soaked’.
    Don’t ask me why!

  • Perhaps choosing George for a first name will inspire our Georges to take an interest in English!

    Hopefully the Royal baby ‘mania’ will take a more normal turn in the future.



  • Hello Michael Rundell – by reading the sentences you extraced from the dictionary it seems that “royally” works as a synonim for “highly”, “mighty”, “totally”. I did not search around but I thought of an hypothesis: it borrows from the idea of the “highness” treatment given to royal people. The concept, therefore, would be that everything “Her Highness” does is “high” or “mighty” (see, for example, “royal pain”). Hence if, say, a peasant was abused by “His highness” he was “highly” abused indeed. The adverb “royally” is the one who can sum up all of these nuances into a single word… what do you think?

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