30 November 2014
The matinée (or matinee) is usually thought of as being a performance in a theater or a showing of a movie that takes place in the daytime.
That's why I find it curious that its origin comes from the matin - a service of morning prayer in various churches, especially the Anglican Church. It can also refer to the morning song of birds.
We get it in English from the Middle English and before that from Old French matines, plural (influenced by ecclesiastical Latin matutinae ‘morning prayers’) of matin ‘morning,’ from Latin matutinum, neuter of matutinus ‘early in the morning,’ from Matuta, the name of the dawn goddess.
In the mid-1800s, it was used to mean "afternoon performance," in the French matinée (musicale) and a looser "morning" as daytime as opposed to night. By the late 19th century, it became accepted as an English word rather than a French word and lost the é.