Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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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 ...
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2answers
47 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 ...
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2answers
33 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?
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57 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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5answers
4k 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 ...
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58 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, ...
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1answer
81 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 : ...
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115 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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115 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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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 ...
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106 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, ...
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1answer
96 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? ...
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1answer
89 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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213 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 ...
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2answers
127 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
90 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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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 ...
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2answers
59 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 ...
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1answer
135 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
5k 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 ...
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139 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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81 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": ...
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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 ...
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8answers
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"?
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“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 ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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2answers
100 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?
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1answer
119 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 ...
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220 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 ...
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6k 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 ...
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1answer
122 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 ...
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1answer
186 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 ...
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4answers
3k views

What is the origin of the word “conk”?

Is it obsolete to use this word? Where does it come from? I couldn't find the origin of this term. Can I use the phrase "The machine conked out" or should I replace conked out with something else?
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242 views

Meaning of “sensorily”

As a non-native English speaker, I am having a hard time understanding what the author means by sensorily austere here. The quote is taken from Man in the landscape, by Paul Shepard. The desert is ...
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5k 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 ...
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68 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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76 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 ...
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2answers
246 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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773 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.
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612 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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161 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 ...
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1answer
85 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 ...
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7k 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 ...
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2answers
734 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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1answer
130 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?
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305 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.