“Romanice” (see smartie’s post) became “romanz” in Old French and referred to the vernacular language as distinct from Latin. Hence “un romanz” in the early Middle Ages was a literary work in Old French. In modern French it has become “roman” and means a novel.
The Old French word was borrowed into English (“romaunt” or “romaunce”) and developed in several ways. Since love was an important theme in the vernacular works, the word came to mean a love-story or a love affair. Many of the old stories were also rather far-fetched, full of magic and superhuman feats of arms, and so “romance” also came to mean a tall story, and in some cases a euphemism for a lie.
Sep 23 06, 1:45 PM
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