Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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1answer
45 views

Meaning of “not so apt to be solicited”

In 1852, a US senator complained that the head of the census bureau presented medical statistics to congress when he lacked expertise in the field. When the bureau chief told the senator of the ...
8
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2answers
112 views

“Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten”: what is forgotten?

Inspired by this question (which in turn was inspired by that one), to what name does "that is forgotten" apply to? Many are my names in many countries: Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the ...
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5answers
160 views

“Forbidden” / “permitted” directly followed by object

Is it correct to say "He is forbidden wine" or "Wine is forbidden him"? Most often these would be expressed as "He is forbidden to drink wine" or "Wine is forbidden to him," but I occasionally see the ...
4
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1answer
105 views

In old books, why is the first letter of the word after the exclamation mark not capitalised?

I was reading Frankenstein and I've noticed that the word after the exclamation mark usually isn't capitalised (unless it's a noun). Some of the quotes I've found: Alas! who is safe, if she be ...
2
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2answers
66 views

One word for a wandering scholar

So I'm looking for a single word to describe someone or something such as a wandering scholar, or a person who travels to obtain knowledge, or even a mobile repository of information. Preferably ...
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3answers
126 views

A Noun which describes an ignorant person accusing a well-informed opponent of ignorance?

I am looking for a word which describes a blatantly ignorant person (not knowing much about certain topic) who in a debate accuses of ignorance his opponent, who knows more about the topic of ...
-2
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1answer
106 views

Why is ‘such an one’ obsolete?

One begins with a vowel and should therefore have an and not a in front of it. Why is it, then, that ‘such a one’ is what is actually said? It appears to have been the case when the King James Bible ...
3
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1answer
92 views

Pronunciation of ‘an hundred’ [duplicate]

I just saw a number of comments complaining about the first n in the phrase ‘an Herculean task’, claiming it implied a mute h. But is that true? My impression has been that earlier all words on h + ...
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2answers
689 views

“Contesting the palm” — looking for a definition and possible origin of this archaic phrase

I recently ran across an odd phrase—"contest the palm"—and after doing some Google searches found it used by a number of individuals in England during the 1800s but I cannot seem to find it defined ...
2
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1answer
55 views

G.B. Shaw and Phonetics

G.B. Shaw (the playwright) campaigned for a "universal alphabet," on and off, throughout his career. He (and some others) did have a point when they said that the English alphabet is anything but ...
1
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1answer
104 views

Reason why tantalium became obsolete

A search in google clearly shows that the word tantalum is the correct spelling of the word and is widely used today. What made me curious was this Wikipedia entry wrote: Previously known as ...
0
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1answer
71 views

Meaning of archaic “unto” [closed]

What is the Biblical meaning of unto? I have looked it up in Dictionary.com. But I am not satisfied with the answer. Jesus said in the New Testament Come unto me, all ye that labour and are ...
3
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2answers
445 views

Older ways to say “Dear” when writing a letter

"Dear" has become a polite introductory word from the 15c. I would like to know of older, archaic words that were, perhaps, used in its stead or alongside it. From the old letters I reviewed I found ...
0
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2answers
61 views

“Take a break of unknown duration” in formal language

I would like to express the following idea in a more fashionable and eloquent manner: leave on a break of unknown duration / take a break... / leave on hiatus... Use of the highest linguistic ...
-1
votes
1answer
88 views

What does David Hume mean by the word “dull” in this quote?

In his essay "The Skeptic," 18th-century English philosopher David Hume concludes: In a word, human life is more governed by fortune than by reason; is to be regarded more as a dull pastime than ...
2
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2answers
51 views

Unto: an unusual usage

In the King James version, Luke 23:15 says No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. It is clear from the context that Pilate is here telling ...
0
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2answers
136 views

Unease vs uneasiness

Is the word unease more archaic or formal than the word uneasiness? I am used to the latter, but the former surprises me. Is there a rule how to choose the best one in similar pairs of words?
1
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1answer
121 views

Thanking someone

I have two questions: Does thank you become archaically thank thee? Are there alternative ways, archaic or not, of saying thank you other than thanks?
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5answers
1k views

Tolkien and archaic English

I once read that JRR Tolkien, a linguist by profession and of The Lord of the Rings fame, wrote his masterpiece using elements of archaic English to emulate the Bible. Following a question on ...
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4answers
1k views

“That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ…”

That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ; but that old ones should be abolished, we hold no prediction. This is a quote from Religio Medici (1643) by Thomas Browne. It's quoted ...
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0answers
132 views

Proper way to say is that so in its negative form

If someone were to say, "I like carrots." A possible -though slightly archaic- responce to that could be, "Is that so?" But what if someone says, "I dont like peas." A possible responce could be, ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Replacing “do you have” with “have you”

Found a similar question here, but with some minor differences. Is it archaic to use have you in sentences such as this: John : I think we can see it with a specially crafted telescope. Mary : ...
0
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4answers
221 views

Word that means “Sneak and Steal”?

I'm looking for a word that combines "Sneak" with "Steal", like: To sneak and steal It would be best if it were archaic, but I'd love to hear all possibilities of course. Thank you! EDIT: Thanks ...
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2answers
281 views

Is “were I you” archaic?

Would the following usage be considered archaic? Were I you, I would ask her for a date.
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1answer
203 views

Second Person Singular conjugation of words ending in Y

I know that most regular verbs would be conjugated in Second Person Singular by adding "est" (Thou makest), and Third Person Singular by adding "eth" (She maketh), but what if the verb ends with a Y? ...
2
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1answer
99 views

What is the meaning “It is permitted us to know …”

I saw a sentence It is permitted us to know respecting the signs, which are spoken by the prophets, for they foretold signs by which the consummation of the times is to be expected by us from day ...
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2answers
191 views

“how quicker” vs. “how much quicker”

I'm trying to settle a debate with my girlfriend. She says "how quicker" is incorrect and you should always use "how much quicker". Which of these is [more?] correct? See how quicker the cars ...
2
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1answer
120 views

'Might' is the subjunctive inflection of 'may'; was there ever a subjunctive inflection of 'must'?

I acknowledge that there is no subjunctive mood in English. However, there are variants of some words that we might regard as subjunctive variants. For example, 'might' is the, if you will, ...
1
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1answer
131 views

What makes a word archaic?

I understand that essentially a word is "archaic" if it is old and not really used much today. What I'm interested in is if there is something quantifiable that makes a word archaic or not. For ...
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6answers
8k views

Is “He is risen” Correct?

This is not correct, right? Mixing present tense and past tense makes me think it is not correct but I see it so often on signs that I'm not even sure any more. Is there a specific reason why it's ...
2
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2answers
83 views

Is the use of “long since” archaic?

As a non English speaker, I'm writing a profile in which I want to say something along the lines of: I've long since developed an interest for.... In context I feel it flows better than the (more ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

Am I the only person to use “punch up” to mean “remind someone”?

I have always used "punch up" in the context of reminding or prodding someone for something such as: "I just punched up Jane that she needs to turn in her vacation schedule" When I used this ...
2
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1answer
186 views

The phrase - “I remain sceptical” vs “I continue to remain sceptical”

During a parent meeting , I heard a teacher say : I remain sceptical (on the progress of the child). and the parent questioning him- Why do you continue to remain sceptical? ...
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1answer
108 views

How is this sentence to be interpreted?

One thing that bothers me - a lot - reading older English texts, is the apparent tendency of writers to write what appear to me to be sentence fragments. For instance, today I found this old "map": ...
14
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2answers
1k views

What do “orange” and “spindle-shanked beaux” mean in this quote?

While looking up the word "bye" I found this 18th century quotation. Our present race of spindle-shanked beaux had rather close with an orange wench at the playhouse, than engage in a bye battle ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

fare thee well - grammar

Why is this sentence using 'thee' (which is, afaik the oblique case) and not 'thou'? The second person singular -in this case- should be the subject, i thought. The subject is the one doing the ...
0
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2answers
170 views

Is “quoteth” equivalent to “quoth”?

Could any given usage of "quoth" be replaced by "quoteth" (and vice versa)? Is quoteth simply its archaic form, or is there a difference?
2
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1answer
182 views

Writing in King James archaic language [closed]

I'm currently working on an English project and I have chosen to rewrite a story (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad) in a biblical, King James style. I have done a large amount of reading but I do ...
0
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1answer
291 views

What is this letter/symbol called?

I found it in an old dictionary and I'm not sure what it means. It looks like the number "3", but the top of the three has been flattened(and slightly curved). I've only seen this in three or four ...
2
votes
1answer
334 views

Using pray instead of please in a sentence - Why? When? [closed]

I hear (mostly from people in the Humanities department) sentences that use pray instead of the word please: "Pray tell me, when will you be back?" Assuming that I haven't made any mistakes in the ...
3
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1answer
145 views

A quote by Disraeli, can you interpret and explain its meaning?

"Talk to women, talk to women as much as you can. This is the best school. This is the way to gain fluency, because you need not care what you say, and had better not be sensible. They, too, will ...
0
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2answers
78 views

Use of “Yet” in Context of Older Writings

I've been trying to figure out archaic English grammar for a number of uses - an English assignment and an RPG, specifically - and have run into a bit of a speed bump. I am honestly stumped regarding ...
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2answers
90 views

What does it mean to have “whipped top”? (Shakespeare/archaic usage)

e.g. in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, Scene 1: Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten till lately. I assume it's some form of game or ...
2
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2answers
312 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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
130 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
2k 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 ...
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3answers
976 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
172 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
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1answer
328 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.