From ad alterum se conferre, "to confer" (property) upon another.

Prior to the patriarchal cult of christianity, the female property owners could cast-off husbands destitute by conferring their "matrimony" (wealth) upon another. Hence, as soon as christianity got the political clout, they stopped that immediately! As a wife's fidelity was of great economic importance to them.

Further, the church made it quite writing, that any wife suspected of pre-marital affairs was to be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:21) The latter ruling was to ensure that the Pagan custom of pre-marital defloration by a stranger was invalidated, lest someone other than her husband might have a claim to her property.

Hebrew patriarchs also declared that a widow would be considered adulterous if she tried to re-marry outside of her late husband's family; in fact their new patriarchal law stated that she must marry a brother of her belated, so that her property would remain under the control of the male-in-laws.