Three hoorays for the royal babyPosted by Saskia Iseard on July 23, 2013
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:
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.
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
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a committee organized by the government of the UK whose job is to consider a particular issue
a set of the five highest playing cards from the same suit in the game of poker
a substance produced by bees to feed their young that some people believe has major health benefits
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.
I have also heard of ‘a right royal mess’, in which ‘royal’ is an intensive.
Loved it. Sooooo helpuful for my classes. Tanx, kisses.
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?
That’s exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!