Since the early 17th century, this word has been used in a slightly derogatory sense, as a collective noun for miscellaneous, superfluous or over-complicated items connected with a particular task or enterprise. Its origin is a lot more serious and very different from its current meaning. Paraphernalia derives from Greek and Roman law pertaining to women’s property rights. The etymological root is from the Greek para meaning ‘distinct from’ and pherna meaning ‘dowry’. Thus, it originally referred to a woman’s personal possessions, as distinct from her dowry and other goods, which belonged to her husband. Similar laws existed almost everywhere until the late 19th century when women’s property rights were amended to equal those of men.