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I grew up in a manse.

tinkling spring manse

Tinkling Spring Manse, Fishersville, Virginia.  Probably taken by my father, the Rev. R. S. Crutchfield, probably around 1960.

My father was a Presbyterian minister, and our house, which the church provided, was the manse.  The principal, modern definition of manse, according to Webster’s, is

the residence of a minister; especiallythe house of a Presbyterian minister.

The first manse I lived in was an imposing house on a hill, which still stands, although it’s been sold, the land around the hill has been filled, and there’s a gas station where the front yard used to be.  Then we moved to the city, and the manse we lived in was an ordinary, single-family house—big enough for a family of six, but not imposing.

There seems now to be a trend among the paid praters to use manse in its secondary (or, according to Webster’s, tertiary) sense,

a large imposing residence.

Just go to Webster’s and look at the examples from the Web.  They all refer to large, imposing residences, rather than the homes of Presbyterian ministers.  I guess the paid praters want a less-common alternative to the ordinary word, mansionwhose modern meaning is always “a large imposing residence” (unless you’re into astrology).  Maybe it’s a kind of augmentation disease in reverse.  It’s not wrong, but it bugs me.

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