Browse Definitions :

To the manor born or to the manner born?

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
Although she was not __________________, the CEO soon learned to cultivate the soft skills that made her an effective leader.
a. to the manner born
b. to the manor born


Answer: a.

Explanation:
To the manner born comes from Hamlet and means something like accustomed from birth or born with a talent, proclivity or ability. So, our sentence means that although the CEO’s emotional intelligence was lacking, she worked on her people skills and improved.

The phrase is often thought to be to the manor born and is used similarly to another one: born with a silver spoon in his mouth — meaning born into a life of wealth and privilege.

However, to the manner born refers to innate ability (or proclivity or acclimatization) of any sort. As Random House’s Word Maven explains, the original reference is to the ability to drink copious amounts of liquor:

The first thing to note is that this is not some random phrase which we have to puzzle out, but a Literary Allusion, from the WotD’s favorite alludee, Shakespeare. In Hamlet, when the prince is observing the drunkenness common at Elsinore, he complains, “But to my mind–though I am native here,/And to the manner born–it is a custom/More honor’d in the the breach than the observance” (Hamlet I.iv.14ff).

What Hamlet meant here is that he is destined or accustomed from birth to the practice of heavy drinking. The phrase is often used in a sense like this (‘accustomed to (a specified practice) since birth’, that is), or often somewhat more broadly meaning ‘admirably well suited for (something specified)’.

> Read on

So, in fact, you could say a champion yo-yoer, a virtuoso hog-caller or a talented pickpocket from a long line of talented pickpockets was to the manner born. And then, when you got some funny looks, you could explain…

 Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

Networking
Security
  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for ensuring individuals have the appropriate access to ...

  • fraud detection

    Fraud detection is a set of activities undertaken to prevent money or property from being obtained through false pretenses.

  • single sign-on (SSO)

    Single sign-on (SSO) is a session and user authentication service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials -- for ...

CIO
  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, ...

  • core competencies

    For any organization, its core competencies refer to the capabilities, knowledge, skills and resources that constitute its '...

HRSoftware
  • Workday

    Workday is a cloud-based software vendor that specializes in human capital management (HCM) and financial management applications.

  • recruitment management system (RMS)

    A recruitment management system (RMS) is a set of tools designed to manage the employee recruiting and hiring process. It might ...

  • core HR (core human resources)

    Core HR (core human resources) is an umbrella term that refers to the basic tasks and functions of an HR department as it manages...

Customer Experience
  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

  • customer profiling

    Customer profiling is the detailed and systematic process of constructing a clear portrait of a company's ideal customer by ...

Close