Hung parliament

Here are few more election-related words:

Hung parliament – a parliament in which no political party has an absolute majority of seats, as is the case with the UK parliament after yesterday’s election. This term was first used in Britain in 1974, but hang or hung has been used to indicate a situation that’s indecisive since at least the 14th century, when it was became linked to the idea of suspense. The phrase ‘hung jury’, i.e. one that cannot agree, has been used in the USA since 1848 [source].

Coalition – was first used in a political sense in 1715 and comes from the Latin Latin coalitus (fellowship) via the French coalition. Coalitus was originally the past participle of Latin coalescere, which is a combination of com- (together) plus alescere (to grow up).

The Welsh equivalents of these words are:

Senedd grog = hung parliament: senedd = parliament, senate; crog = hanging, pendant, suspended, pendent, pendulous, pensile

Clymblaid = clique, coterie, coalition: clym- probably comes from clymu = to tie; plaid = party, faction.

Plaid is also the root of pleidlais = vote (llais = voice); pleidleisio = to vote; pleidleisiwr = voter.

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases.

8 Responses to Hung parliament

  1. Petréa Mitchell says:

    So “Plaid Cymru” is “Welsh Party”, then?

  2. Yenlit says:

    Plaid Cymru literally means “The Party of Wales”.

  3. Babbler says:

    In Canada, the term “minority parliament” is used instead of “hung parliament”. I’m not sure how that term came about, or what terms other English-speaking countries use.

  4. Christopher Miller says:

    Seconding “Babbler” here: we’ve had a few such parliaments over the last several decades, especially after each of the last three general elections. I think the term likely derives metonymically from “minority government”, which has been the result after each such election, the party with the largest number of seats (but without a majority) being called on to form the government in each case (and the only attempt at a coalition at least in living memory collapsing after only a few days last fall). The press here has been kind of oohing and ahhing over the British term as it came to be raised during the UK election.

  5. TJ says:

    Question about Welsh.
    “W” is like “oo” in the middle of the word?
    and “y” is like “ee”? or “ö” ?

  6. Simon says:

    TJ – in Welsh w is pronounced [ʊ] (oo), and y is [ə] (uh) except in the penultimate syllable of multi-syllable words, where it’s pronounced [ɪ] (ee).

  7. Rhys says:

    Also, in Welsh, ‘O blaid, means ‘in favour of’.

  8. Kevin says:

    I’ve never been able to discover the origin of the Welsh word “plaid” (can anyone help?). The basic meaning appears to be “something that parts or divides off; a(n interior) wall; a partition; a party; a cause”. The “party” meaning is the one most commonly encountered today. As well as Plaid Cymru, noted above, parties represented in the Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (Welsh National Assembly) are:

    – Y Blaid Geidwadol (ac Unoliaethol) / The Conservative (and Unionist) Party
    – Y Blaid Lafur / The Labour Party
    – Y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol / The Liberal Democrats
    (Notice that the last-named eschews the use of the word “party” in its title!)

    The word also gives rise to many derivatives, among which are:
    – pleidgar : factious; partial; tendentious
    – pleidgarwch : partisanship; partiality; factiousness
    – pleidio : to (take) side(s)
    – pleidiwr : a partisan; a champion
    – o blaid : on behalf of
    and
    – gwrthblaid : opposition party; (opposing) faction [gwrth = counter-]

    The most famous derived form, though, is probably “pleidiol : partisan; showing favour”, which appears both in the Welsh national anthem and on the edge of Welsh pound coins in the phrase “Pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad”, which may be loosely translated as “True am I to my country”.