From Le Morte d'Arthur:

(modern edition)
And when Sir Ector was come he made fiaunce to the king for to nourish the child like as the king desired;

(original edition)
And whan syre Ector was come / he made fyaūce to the kyng for to nourisshe the child lyke as the Kynge desyred

According to Wiktionary, fiaunce means confidence, fealty.

Does it mean Sir Ector swore to the king that he would nourish the child?


1 Answer 1


As olegst observes in a comment above, maken fiaunce has the meaning "to make a pledge or a promise, give solemn assurance." A more detailed version of the entry that olegst cites appears in Hans Kurath, Middle English Dictionary (University of Michigan Press: 1998):

fiaunce n. Also fience; cp. affiaunce. 1. (a) Trust or faith (in someone or something); (b) confidence based on trust; assurance. [Examples omitted.] 2. maken fiaunce, (a) to make a pledge or a promise, give solemn assurance; (b) mil. to put oneself on parole. (a) (al470) Malory W[or]ks 11/8: He made fyaunce to the kyng for to nourisshe the child. c1475 Regina celi gwene 27: The Rede appul of my gardyne, For mannes soule hath made fyaunce. ...

Nathan Bailey, An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1773) has this entry for fiaunce:

FIAUNCE, Affiance. Chauc[er].

and these entries for affiance (two as a as a verb and one as a verb):

AFFIANCE {Affiance, F.} Confidence, Hope, Trust.

AFFIANCE {in Law} the Plighting of Troth between a Man and a Woman upon Agreement of Marriage.

To AFFIANCE {affidare, L.} to betroth.

Troth is, in essence, fidelity to a promise, so it follows that to make fiaunce is, broadly, to promise to make good on an action or obligation that one has been charged with performing or upholding.

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