Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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6
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2answers
180 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 ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Was the “Ye Olde Shoppe” ever used or is it just an ancient-looking construct of modern times?

Surely, if I were the owner of a shop selling archery goods and wanted to portray my shop as some kind of old-fashioned, high-quality traditional outlet, I might be tempted to call it “Ye Olde Archery ...
35
votes
7answers
5k 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
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
47
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7answers
3k views

Why does legal English continue to remain archaic?

Perhaps this is a question for Law.SE if one exists, but I am asking here as there are other nice questions on English history. There is some historical development account presented in Wikipedia, ...
3
votes
1answer
313 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 ...
0
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2answers
180 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 ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Why “answer me” but not “answer me the question”?

Why are "answer me" and "answer the question" acceptable but not "answer me the question"? Is it similar to "explain me (something)"?
5
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4answers
2k views

How can I say “girl” in archaic English?

I'm looking for an archaic replacement for the word girl ?
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vote
3answers
221 views

The phrase 'give you me'

There was another sentence that I wasn't sure about: "Rather, O blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Terms for “half a decade”

Is "lustrum" (pl. lustra) an understandable (say, at least in academic publications) or valid/common term for a five year span, e.g. to use in a table summarizing data where space can be very ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Victorians say “We are quit”?

Is “We are quit” (meaning “We’re even, no more mutual obligations”) a usage from the 18–19th centuries? Or are the examples of this on Google hits just people making it up (possibly a bad cognate ...
10
votes
4answers
490 views

What exactly is “noonday night”?

In answering the question Is there a term for “midnight” that is like “noon”, I came across the phrase noonday night listed as a synonym for midnight in my copy of Roget's International ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of “I would there were…”?

What is the meaning of "I would there were", as in this quote from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"? I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out ...
3
votes
5answers
512 views

Archaic text suggestions

I'm interested in learning Archaic English. As a starting point, I guess simple texts that are easy to comprehend would be a good choice. I would appreciate any suggestions.
0
votes
1answer
237 views

Any English phrase whose words appear nowhere else? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a term for words that have a single meaning or are only used in a single context? I want to find some English phrases whose individual words are seldom used ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Usage of “despair” in the phrase “being despaired of”

I am reading a 1892 novel, in which I see the sentence: For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself.... Is this an old use of the word "despair"? If the word "of" is ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

King James Bible archaic style

I am currently reading the King James Version of the Bible and I have noticed some features that I would like to know more about. Almost every verse of the First Book of Moses starts with “and”. ...
23
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7answers
2k views

Does “gay” still include the meaning “merry”?

Dictionary.com lists eight meanings of gay, with “merry, lively” as the first entry. Microsoft banned an Xbox user for listing Fort Gay (a real place) as his hometown: Xbox Live considered the ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

What does the term 'divers places' mean?

In the King James Bible, Matthew 24:7 states: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers ...
4
votes
3answers
387 views

Has the use of these prepositions evolved?

I have been working with an extract from an 1861 newspaper (in Queensland, now part of Australia) concerning an act of mass insubordination by seamen. The text reads The whole of the men, I am ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What did they call illegitimate children in Old English days?

I know that the word bastard in this sense appeard only in 13th century. So what was the normal term before that?
7
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3answers
3k views

Why is the term “touched” no longer commonly used?

I’ve heard the term touched used to refer to someone who is “not quite right”. I’m curious as to where this term came from, what it really means, and why it doesn’t tend to be used often anymore. Is ...
5
votes
1answer
283 views

Could “old fashioned” mean “angry” or “disconsolate” in early 19th Century England?

Patrick O'Brian wrote the Aubrey/Maturin seafaring novels during the late 20th Century, but the novels read as if they were written during the early 1800s (at least as far as I can tell, which isn't ...
4
votes
6answers
8k views

What does it mean to “beat one's breast”?

I'm reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and was wondering what was meant by the action of beating one's breast. eg. The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud ...
4
votes
1answer
277 views

Outmoded word for “next Tuesday”

I am writing an email and wanted to refer to this coming Tuesday. The phrase "Tuesday est" popped into my mind (something Miss Marple might have said) but when I googled it I could find no reference. ...
3
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4answers
6k views

How can I speak as though I were from the Victorian era?

I think that it would be really cool to be able to speak as though I was from the Victorian era. How can I learn to do this?
2
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4answers
258 views

Understanding the archaic grammatical structure of the Westminster Confession of Faith in Chapter 27

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 27, Section 4: Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other alone; as likewise, the denial of the cup to the people, ...
18
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6answers
4k views

When should I use archaic and obsolete words?

I'm learning the English language, and while reading Merriam-Webster I often see common words with additional "obsolete" and "archaic" descriptions added to their definitions. When should I use ...
0
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2answers
390 views

“Two films don't a revolution make”: is this sentence grammatically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English? Proper usage/origin of the generic phrase “[action phrase] does not a [noun] make” “Dazzling ...
14
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6answers
1k views

What is the name for the grammatical device of putting “not” after a verb to negate it?

Here's a passage (more or less taken randomly) from the American Standard Version of the Bible from 1901: 1 Peter 3:14 (ASV) 14 But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ...
7
votes
1answer
473 views

Why has “sware” become “swore”, “bare” “bore”, etc?

As far as I know, there are four verbs (swear, bear, tear, and wear) whose simple past forms used to be (archaically) sware, bare, tare, and ware; but are now exclusively swore, bore, tore, and wore. ...
5
votes
2answers
425 views

Is using the word “singular” to describe someone or something unique an outdated adjective?

Is using the word "singular" to describe someone or something unique an outdated adjective? E.g. By a singular piece of good fortune, Mr. Athelney Jones, the well-known member of the detective ...
5
votes
2answers
243 views

What is the meaning of “If the way Thou choosest, Lead to pain and loss”?

What is the meaning of "If the way Thou choosest, Lead to pain and loss"? How would you put it in modern English? It is a verse from Margaret E. Barber's song "The Path I Travel." The whole context ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
8
votes
2answers
352 views

Help me parse this sentence so I can understand what joke my ancestors played on the King

I'm reading an old history book about my ancestors entitled "Rulewater And Its People: An Account Of The Valley Of The Rule And Its Inhabitants" published in 1907 by George Tancred. In it, I'm having ...
4
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4answers
2k views

“Would” with a present meaning—is this correct?

A great example I can think of: "Please, leave! I would be alone!" With would meaning something like, "I want to be alone." Is this correct, or not? EDIT: To further clarify, I am not aiming ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

What does “pray” mean in phrases like “pray proceed”?

Is this an archaic form of "please proceed"? I have never heard in in speech but sometimes it appears in novels. My version of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is full of it, apparently in place of ...