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How old is the Castilian phrase a la orden? Is it similar in meaning to the Mexican phrase "a sus órdenes"?

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    Does What does “a la orden” mean? solve your question? – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Oct 2 '16 at 15:51
  • @fedorqui yo diría que en parte. El significado sí está claro, pero la pregunta principal, su origen, no está tan claro. Muchos dicen que es una expresión militar que pasó al ámbito civil, pero creo que fue al revés. En el primer diccionario de autoridades aparece el término "a la orden" como una "expresión cortesana", posiblemente derivadas de las órdenes (religiosas, de caballerías, militares también, sí, pero no necesariamente) de aquel entonces, que ha llegado hasta hoy y que ha pasado al ejército actual. Averiguar ese origen sí lo veo una pregunta interesante. – Charlie Oct 2 '16 at 20:27
  • @fedorqui si te fijas, en aquella pregunta nadie de los que dijo que era una expresión militar que ha pasado al lenguaje común puso referencia alguna. – Charlie Oct 2 '16 at 20:28
  • @CarlosAlejo gracias por el análisis pormenorizado :) Solamente indiqué la otra pregunta sin ir más allá, por si se trataba de una duplicada. Por lo que comentas, parece que no es, por lo que sería muy bueno si pudieras expandir tus comentarios en una respuesta. ¡Gracias! – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Oct 2 '16 at 21:14
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I can only give you a hint of how old is the expression. First of all, we need to know that an "orden" is a word used to denote confraternities or societies of men, starting from the crusaders in the XII century (catholic military orders) and following with the medieval knights in the XV century (chivalry orders or knighthood orders). So it is just normal that in the first Spanish dictionary issued between 1726 and 1739 by the Real Academia, the expression is already present:

A la orden, o A las órdenes. Término cortesano con que alguno se ofrece a la disposición de otro.

In this case, the term "cortesano" means:

Cortesano. Comedido, atento, urbano y cortés.

It does not say that the expression was only used within the orders, it was just used as a polite expression to denote that you were at other's service. So I would say that the expression began within a civil context, and ended up in the nowaday's military organizations.

It would be worth trying to discover when the word "orden" acquired its meaning as something that must be obeyed in Spanish. In the first Spanish dictionaries (from centuries XV and XVI), the word "orden" is just described as the position things have in a series, apart from the "Order" meaning. So maybe the expression originally could be something larger, like "he de servir a la Orden", "yo sirvo a la Orden X", "darse a la Orden" (to devote to the Order), "hacer merced a la Orden" (to be willing to do what the Order says), or something like that. Then the expression was shrunk to "a la orden" meaning "sirvo a la orden de vos". But this last bit is just me supposing.

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