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Word of the Week: ‘throne’


We take a closer look at the words and phrases that are trending online and in the media. This week: ‘throne’.

WOTW Throne Speak Media.jpg

Between the birth of the newest royal baby – seventh in line to the throne – and the seemingly endless (but soon to end) quest for the iron throne, the word ‘throne’ very much took over the internet this week.

So the copy team at your favourite east London content agency have had to roll up our sleeves and delve deep into the (approximately) 799 million spoiler-threatening, panic-inducing and pointlessly speculating search results for this week’s choicest linguistic titbits. You’re welcome.

What does ‘throne’ mean?

The word ‘throne’ has not always meant what we think it means. First recorded in 1200 as ‘trone’, the word referred to “the seat of God or a saint in heaven”. Later in 1300, ‘trone’ in Old French was used to describe a “seat occupied by a sovereign”. It is thought to originate from the Latin ‘thronus’ from Greek ‘thronos’ meaning “elevated seat”. 

In Christian angelology, ‘thrones’ denotes “the third-highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy”, who symbolise the justice and authority of God – a definition that’s a long way away from the colloquial meaning ‘toilet’, first recorded in 1922.

More is more

Whether it’s the fictional iron throne made from the swords of the vanquished and forged by the breath of the greatest dragon, the biblical throne of King Solomon made from ivory and covered in gold and precious stones – or the velvet-draped throne that actor Billy Porter was carried on at this week’s Met Gala – extravagance seems to always trump comfort when it comes to thrones.

As French statesman and military leader Napoléon Bonaparte bluntly put it: “A throne is only a bench covered with velvet”. Still, the team at this London content agency wouldn’t say no to the addition of a few rubies and emeralds to pimp our desk chairs.

A throne awaits for the victor in the HBO hit Game of Thrones, when in two short weeks viewers in 186 countries worldwide will find out who will be the one to sit on the not-very-comfortable-looking royal seat.

That’s once the show has got over its embarrassment at the accidental appearance of a Starbucks coffee cup in the last episode – a gaff quickly noticed by fans, resulting in memes galore and millions in free advertising for the American coffee chain. We’re surprised the Mother of Dragons opted for a caffeine hit rather than a large goblet of wine after discovering that (spoiler alert) she’s been sleeping with her nephew.

Back in the real world, subjects wait with bated breath for their first sight of the new royal baby boy, reportedly born at home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, otherwise known as Harry and Meghan. Seventh in line to the throne, Baby Sussex (name tbc) is not expected to ever become king. He did, however, narrowly avoid having to request the monarch’s permission to marry in the future – a law that applies only to the first six in line. What can we say? You win some, you lose some.

Read more:

Word of the Week: ‘censorship’

Word of the Week: ‘extinction’

Simge Eva Dogan