A paranymph is a ceremonial assistant and or coach in a ceremony. In ancient Greek weddings the bride and bridegroom were attended by paranymphs, and from this use it has been generalized to refer to attendants of doctoral students, best men and bridesmaids in weddings and the like. It can refer specifically to the friend of a bridegroom tasked with accompanying him in a chariot to fetch the bride home.

An obscure use of the word is as a spokesman for the bride or bridegroom, such as Cyrano de Bergerac towards Roxanne.

The word may refer also to a thought that is revealed only by a slip of the tongue, such as a Freudian slip, or a condition where such slippage is endemic.

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