I know humans used to have "Houses" comprised of people rather than structures, similar to the Klingon fashion. House of Mogh, House of John, etc. Is this house of people the house that needs to be put in order? What is the origin of the phrase, and what terms might I use to learn more about these houses?

  • Etwas in Ordnung bringen exist in German, too, seems like a latinism, though how old I cannot say. – vectory Jul 18 at 7:32
  • @vectory: Eng. order and Ger. Ordnung derive from Lat. ordo, but are you suggesting that either put in order or in Ordnung bringen is a direct translation of a Latin phrase? – KarlG Jul 18 at 12:18
  • @KarlG I did not suggest anything but the obvious. Since you had to ask though: Given lordly houses spanning several countries, what I mentioned may suggest that the loan is indirect, through a German language, or vice versa, or older, i.e. Germanic, and the loan just a new name for an old tradition. – vectory Jul 18 at 19:05
  • Compare Ger. Zustand "state of things, order", zustehen (trans.) to be claimable as inheritance", *zuständig "responsible" (cp. reliable) and te-sta-ment (cp. Ger. Vor-mund-schaft, perhaps zu-muten). – vectory Jul 18 at 19:30

“To put one’s house in order” is at least as old as the King James Bible. See this Wiktionary page https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/put_one%27s_house_in_order.

The “house” can refer to one’s personal financial affairs, relationships with others, making a will, and the like.

From 2 Samuel 17:23, quoted in the Wiktionar article:

And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.

This page has a few more Biblical quotations that are similar:


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.