Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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2answers
173 views

What is the meaning of “40 leagues and 2”?

League is a widely found but rarely used unit of measurement, measuring roughly "one hour's hike" in many definitions. It tends to mean around 3 miles, or 5 km, in English use. Tolkien often wrote ...
1
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2answers
71 views

What's a modern equivalent of “fie on thee”?

Is there a modern equivalent to the archaic expression "fie on thee"? I'm aware of expressions such as "damn you" and the like, but I'm looking for something less strong.
0
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1answer
37 views

What does “not perhaps” mean?

What exactly does "not perhaps" mean? I encountered it in Smith's The Wealth of Nations In Chapter I. Of The Division Of Labour: The effects of the division of labour, in the general business of ...
0
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2answers
28 views

Best synonyms for “expanding / enlarging the Knowledge / Science / Wisdom” [closed]

I'm trying to invent the inscription to joke "certificates" which I'm going to send to some users of my site. Currently I come to: By this we, brethren of CodeAbbey, solemnly and unanimously ...
0
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3answers
90 views

Antonym/Opposite of “on the morrow”

If my birthday is on the 15th August and I tidy up on August 16th I can say: "I threw a huge party and tidied up on the morrow.". But if I prepared for the party on August 12th then what do I say? "I ...
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1answer
63 views

Which versions of historical English are mutually intelligible?

English has changed tremendously from Old English to Modern English. Which intermediate versions are considered to be mutually intelligible? For that matter, what about asymmetrical intelligible?
5
votes
1answer
258 views

The use of “la”?

I have read many a novel set in the Regency period where la is used in conversations. La, Susan, don't be so bothersome What is its purpose and correct use? Thank you for your insights.
4
votes
9answers
1k views

Derogatory word or term for a peasant/lower class [closed]

What is a derogatory word or term for a peasant/lower-class person that is stronger or more insulting than pleb? It could be an archaic term used by nobles during the Middle Ages.
1
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0answers
88 views

What's the meaning of the word “spitters” in The Chemical Worker's Song?

Amongst the different versions of this song (Known by various names including "The Chemical Worker's Song", "Process Man" and "The ICI Song") that are floating around, there seem to be two variations ...
1
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2answers
145 views

Single-word “mirror” synonyms

I was looking for the synonyms of the noun mirror: A surface capable of reflecting sufficient undiffused light to form an image of an object placed in front of it. The majority of the synonyms ...
0
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1answer
104 views

Be it that,were to, and should - what were the differences between these conditionals?

Be it that John ask me, I shall answer him. Should John ask me, I will (or should? or would?) answer him. Were John to ask me, I would answer him. When writers used the foregoing ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

“Tear(drop)” synonyms

I've been looking for the synonyms (especially poetic ones) referring to the nouns "tear" and "tear-drop". Unfortunately, there wasn't much for me to find. I've found two, poetic ones - "brine" and ...
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2answers
89 views

Using conjunction “while” as an archaic prepositonal form for “until”

In my Penguin English Dictionary, I've encountered the word while marked as an archaic form for the preposition until. Furthermore, according to my online research, Oxford Dictionary states that it is ...
1
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2answers
60 views

“Rejoice to hear it”

I came across the sentence, "I rejoice to hear it," and wasn't exactly sure how to read it. So I looked up "rejoice to hear," and found it again in a poem by Isaac Watts: How did my heart rejoice ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Are “traditional comparisons” still in use?

When I was a student - and that was more years ago than I care to count - I learned quite a few idiomatic/traditional comparisons. Howver, I've never heard anyone use them ever since. I suppose they ...
0
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6answers
258 views

What is an archaic synonym for “teacher”?

What is an archaic synonym for "teacher"? I'm looking for an archaic, if possible Early Modern English word for the person teaching in pre-university schools (i. e. High School).
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Shall, third person singular, archaic form

The second person of will and shall are wilt and shalt in the archaic form. The third person singular suffix is -eth, so we get willeth but what about shall? Thank you for your answers!
2
votes
3answers
150 views

Archaic conjugation of imperative verbs [duplicate]

I'm trying to learn the archaic conjugation (for fun) and I wonder if the imperative verbs in the archaic form can be conjugated with -est for the second person singular (ex: Eatest thy vegetables). ...
0
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0answers
34 views

once, twice, thrice… was there more? [duplicate]

I realize everyone uses 'four times', 'five times'... in case of denoting something repeating more than three times. Even 'thrice' is currently gradually going extinct. But did English ever possess ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Uncertain whether pirate talk be authentically or mockingly archaic

@ZhanlongZheng asked the following question on ELL: Barbosa: I defended her mightily enough, but she be sunk nonetheless. Jack Sparrow: If that ship be sunk properly, you should be ...
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votes
1answer
388 views

It's funny that you should say that. Why “say” not “said”?

There's an exercise in Murphy's Grammar in use unit 34. "It's funny that you should say that. I was going to say the same thing." Why not use past tense "said" but "say" here? Another should ...
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1answer
60 views

Uses of “to scathe”

Would “We took down the foreyard and commenced to scathe it” make sense to a sailor?
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1answer
410 views

17th Century affectionate term for Mother

I'm writing a ghost story, and (in an admittedly well worn trope) a child ghost is looking for its mother; but how would a 17th century child affectionately refer to its mother? In short, what would ...
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4answers
555 views

Is there an old, rarely used word which means “an archaic word”?

I seem to recall from my youth, when my vocabulary was many times what it is today, learning a word (started with an 'a' I think) whose meaning was "an old, unused, or archaic word" or something ...
0
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1answer
251 views

Whereof, wherein, wherefrom, whereupon, whereby, wherewith, wherefore in a contemporary article?

I am publishing an article (research) and I am wondering whether theses words, albeit far more beautiful than their equivalent using which, can still be employed even though the OED described them as ...
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3answers
95 views

Single word for “from then” or “from it” [closed]

I would like to use the archaic expression (from the family of hence, whereby etc.) to refine the sentence: "..the weights introduced in Exercise 2 and determined from it/from there" meaning the ...
2
votes
3answers
266 views

Noun-adjective reversal - was it ever in use in plain speech?

In some more or less archaic texts I found the order of noun and its adjective reversed at times, like: I traveled through nights starless, and roads unmapped. I wonder, is it a stylistic tool ...
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3answers
203 views

Is there any archaic word for “finally”?

So I was wondering whether there is any archaic word that means "finally" or "at last"?
14
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2answers
477 views

Did people ever use the word “cock” as a euphemism for “God”?

English has a lot of surprises. When I was checking the etymology of "cocksure", I found this entry in Oxford Dictionaries: 1 British A male bird, especially of a domestic fowl. Below is ...
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2answers
100 views

Is 'of' as in 'drink of' an old usage?

I drank of the jar. Is this 'of' an old usage? But I can't find the proof for that.
5
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5answers
14k views

“Much obliged” — Old-fashioned? Polite? Pedantic?

I've heard someone say "Much obliged!" a couple of times, instead of the usual "Thank you!". A common phrase in Portuguese ("Muito Obrigado") and maybe other languages, but certainly unusual in ...
1
vote
2answers
518 views

Shall I use 'thus' or 'thusly'? [duplicate]

Which is correct? ...others are compensated thus. ...others are compensated thusly. This page says 'thusly' is incorrect: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thusly However without the 'ly' is ...
3
votes
3answers
828 views

Why is the Elizabethan English incorrect in this quote?

I saw a Geico commercial with Elizabethan verb forms that bothered me because they were being misused: Trick Number 1. Lookest over there! Servant looks Haha! Madest thou look! So endest the ...
0
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1answer
99 views

Archaic gradation words/constructs synonymous to “more” and “less”?

Are there any adverbs/pronouns (or sentence constructs) that fulfilled the gradation role of more and less in Early Modern English, that currently fell out of use or exist only in marginal, archaic or ...
1
vote
1answer
408 views

Is American English more archaic or more modern than British English?

I insist that someone do something. (used more in American English, says Michael Swan's Practical English Use , for instance) versus I insist that someone should do somehting. (used more ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

Why did the past tense ending -t change to -ed?

My posts are often questions for further knowledge about reasons for language change. In this extract from 1750, there are three variations on the past tense form. Once again, I am grateful if anyone ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Infinitive use in “whether or not he be” compared with its use in “if he be”

Here is the phrase in question: . . . but whether he be, or whether he be not. . . . Is the usage of the infinitive in that phrase above the same sort of thing as occurs in this quotation: ...
2
votes
1answer
857 views

What is a non-humorous 19th or 18th century alternative to the contemporary insult 'jerk'?

Most web sites and forum posts I've come across covering archaic insults are usually devoted to listing polysyllabic compound words of the Shakespearean variety, such as : you artless, swag-bellied, ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Archaic conjugation of common verbs?

I'm looking for an online resource to list conjugation of some of most common English verbs (to be, to get, to do, to have etc.) in their archaic (Early Modern) forms. In particular, I'd be interested ...
3
votes
3answers
130 views

Why is this a hyperbaton?

According to Wikipedia, this is a hyperbaton: "Whom god wishes to destroy, he first makes mad" — Euripides Is that right, and if so, why? My native language is Swedish, but I speak English ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Is there a specific name for the activity of blowing the bellows?

In a few European languages, there are words derived from latin calcare - literally to tread, in these words it means to blow bellows, for example in church organs; in Polish it's kalikować - a ...
10
votes
2answers
920 views

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns"

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns" What does this metaphor mean and what is the origin? I know it is an ancient one, but couldn't find anything else! Is it obsolete ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “Where will wants not, a way opens”

I have been reading "The Lord of the Rings" and came across this phrase in the "The Return of the King". “Where will wants not, a way opens, so we say,” he whispered. “and so I have found myself.” ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

What does “might” exactly mean in the following excerpt?

This is a excerpt from Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, and I want to know the exact meaning of might regarding the context. Some say by might we mean: being allowed to and some say it ...
35
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7answers
6k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been ...
0
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1answer
87 views

Mouth as Mountain? [closed]

"The "MS. Found in a Bottle," was originally published in 1831, and it was not until many years afterwards that I became acquainted with the maps of Mercator, in which the ocean is represented as ...
3
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2answers
104 views

Is afeast or possibly affeast, afeest etc. a word?

My English (vai Liverpool)-Canadian mother used this word to mean 'disgusted by' or 'repulsed by.' Example: "he is afeast of mixed foods." meaning you think mixed foods are disgusting or inedible. I ...
3
votes
1answer
370 views

Name, Conditions, and Pluralization of “Conscience' sake”

In some versions of the Bible, 1 Cor. 10:25 contains the phrase conscience' sake with no s following the possessive apostrophe of conscience, which does not end with s, as in: New American ...
6
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3answers
890 views

What part of speech is “methinks”?

Dictionaries call this word a verb, but it doesn't seem to behave like any other verb in the English language. Another question on this site calls it a “conjoined pronoun-verb combination”, which ...
0
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2answers
194 views

Is the phrase “breed of men” weird or just different?

Forgive me for asking two questions in a single post, but I think it would make more sense to post them together. So please indulge me. Sentence: He is not unique. We should be able to discover such ...