Whilst on my previous Angevin history kick, I strolled upon the word demesne, and of course had to look it up at the Online Etymology Dictionary, trying to figure out in what sense it differed from its close synonym domain. There isn't much of a difference, as it turns out:
c.1300, demeyne (modern spelling by late 15c.), from Anglo-Fr. demesne, demeine, O.Fr. demaine "land held for a lord's own use," from L. dominicus "belonging to a master," from dominus "lord." Re-spelled by Anglo-Fr. legal scribes under influence of O.Fr. mesnie "household" (and the concept of a demesne as "land attached to a mansion") and their fondness for inserting -s- before -n-. Essentially the same word as domain.
My questions actually have more to do with the curious note the dictionary gives in the definition — namely, the bit about "[scribes] fondness for inserting -s- before -n-."
I'm at a loss to think of any words that fit that pattern. Can anyone else think of words that display this -sn- pattern, that would have emerged during this time period under the influence of these Anglo-French scribes?
Secondly — and I'm not necessarily expecting an answer on this — is there any good reason scholars would have had such a fondness for this construction? Did they have reasoned etymological reasons behind doing so, correct or not?