Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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2
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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
vote
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
votes
3answers
91 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 ...
-1
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
7
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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.
1
vote
2answers
147 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 ...
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.
7
votes
8answers
956 views

Are older senses of “anent” still alive in any dialect?

The obscure preposition anent has a long history, going back as far as Beowulf: him on efn ligeð ealdorgewinna [line 2903] ("beside him lies his great enemy") It has carried many meanings, ...
6
votes
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Exsanguination or Desanguination?

My wife was working on her lines for a play (Dracula) set in the early 1900s and one line caught my eye. It referred to the desanguination of the vampire’s victims. I’d always heard the term as ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there a similar word to 'twain' but meaning 'three' instead of 'two'?

I would like to split something into three parts, is there a phrase I can use with similar overtones to "cleave in twain"?
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
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 ...
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
votes
6answers
259 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).
15
votes
5answers
19k views

Is “from whence” correct? Or should it be “whence”?

I just saw a parody on the Lord of the Rings, where one of the characters says: it must be cast back in the fire from whence it came! This struck me as odd, since I expected them to say "whence ...
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 ...
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). ...
2
votes
2answers
263 views

“recce” — the reck which a reckless is lacking

While thinking about good antonyms for reckless, I noticed there’s no reckful nor any reck in English, for that matter. So, what would that reck be? Etymonline offers the following scrap: rece, ...
0
votes
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the origin and use of “remember me to her/him”?

Is anybody familiar with the use of remember as in remember me to her/him? I think I've see it in 19th century literature. Most likely it's archaic. I believe the speaker is commanding someone to ...
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
389 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
10k views

What happened to the “‑est” and “‑eth” verb suffixes in English?

What happened to them, and how were they once used? Straining my mind to sound archaic, I came up with the following: Dost thou thinkest thou can escape thy sins? and Bringeth me mine armor ...
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

Uses of “to scathe”

Would “We took down the foreyard and commenced to scathe it” make sense to a sailor?
7
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
-1
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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
votes
2answers
478 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 ...
0
votes
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.
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 ...
10
votes
6answers
12k views

What was “well met!” supposed to mean?

I know it was a sort of archaic greeting, but I don't know how to interpret the actual words. I had a foggy idea that it meant "It is good that we met here and now", but even then, "well met" is not ...
0
votes
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
155 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
602 views

“Who him?” as a stand-in for “Who is he?”

I'm curious: is this valid under some rule of grammar I don't know? Was it ever valid, or was it slang or a personal idiosyncrasy? Or (I shudder to think) was it invented by later authors, as a ...
10
votes
3answers
10k views

Is the proper spelling “judgment” or “judgement”?

I always thought the proper spelling was  judgment, but I see  judgement all the time, even in articles, news, etc. Merriam-Webster lists  judgement as a variant spelling for judgment. But is the ...
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: ...