Modern English was used from the late 15th century to the mid to late 17th century.

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What does “gages and safety pledges” mean in Henry VIII era English?

What does gages and safety pledges mean in this old passage, and when is the Octave of St. Michael? The King to the Sheriff of Notthinghamshire: greeting. If John Smith shall make you secure to ...
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101 views

Archaic English new words: from a Nigerian [closed]

A Nigerian Governor was being interviewed by a local Television station. He was speaking of the political situation of Rivers state in Nigeria. Nigeria is an English speaking country because it was a ...
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Principles in the use of letters 'b', 'u' and 'v' in Early Modern English typography

I have been reading a medical book by one late surgeon Thomas Gale. I was wondering the following mix-up of letters 'u','v' and 'b'. This states: "to have the cure of". Letter 'u' is used in the ...
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“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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180 views

Word to describe the structure that holds/stores a shield (and possibly other weapons)

I am looking for a word that would used to describe either many shields, or a structure that would be used to carry them in storage. If I look at this medieval photo, there is a wooden structure on ...
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102 views

“Up with the… ” (complete the saying for waking up early) [closed]

If you wake up early, what is the saying for this? Beginning with the words: "Up with the..."
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75 views

What is the grammatical designation of “that” in “…that she may have…”?

The following sentence is the Modern English translation of a line from the Old English poem Judith: He (God) advanced a gracious favour to her, that she may have a steadfast faith. My question ...
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289 views

Is English considered easier to learn than most of the other languages in the world? [closed]

In comparison to the other languages, I think English is much more simpler. For example, compared to French, English nouns have no gender, adjectives have only one form and verbs have extremely simple ...
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Explanation of a sentence in “Adam lay ybounden”

In the carol "Adam lay ybounden", there's a line that goes: As clerkes finden, written in their book Is "finden" the infinitive form of "find"? I thought it should be "found" or maybe "would ...
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183 views

Where can I find a modern English version of King James’s “Counterblaste to Tobacco”?

I find A Counterblaste to Tobacco by James I very interesting. Many people are under the impression that anti-tobacco sentiment began in the last century, and this document pretty thoroughly refutes ...
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Early Modern English second person present tense when verb ends with ‑st

In Early Modern English you normally would add ‑st or ‑est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end ...
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No direct object in 'give thee faithfully to follow' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington)

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington If the Lord would show thee but this one thing, -- that to use "thee" and "thou" to a particular person is proper ...
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What's the subject of 'mind not so much to know' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington) [duplicate]

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington The Lord so guide thee, manifest himself to thee, help thee, and lead thee by his Holy Spirit and power, as that thou ...
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123 views

What is the early modern equivalent of ' I think ' [closed]

Would the term 'I think' be used in this era? I'm looking at translation for a piece of art, I'm wanting to translate flippant/meaningless language from today (things people say drunk, tweets etc.) ...
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70 views

Grammaticality - 'what care I then for the Ridicule' (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Google Source: p 169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] In vain do I strive to through of [throw off] in the company of my ...
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38 views

Which does 'your affection in the least diminished by…' mean? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] 1 cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this perticular as I have ...
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32 views

Why did Abigail Adams write 'all' twice? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: pp 168-169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I will not finish the sentence, my Heart denies the justice of the ...
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What does Abigail Adams mean by 'Score of misfortune' (1778 November, US)?

Original Source. Google Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a Heart too ...
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197 views

Are the following old English examples grammatically correct? [closed]

I have a question about two sentences I use. I would like to know if they are grammatically correct. I'm not particularly interested in hearing that they are old fashioned, out of date, or awkard. ...
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Odd possessive form of a proper name: Why does Dryden write “Lord Nonsuch his” instead of “Lord Nonsuch’s” but “Bibber’s” instead of “Bibber his”?

While researching a question posed on EL&U, I came across this list of the characters in John Dryden’s The Wild Gallant (1663), from a 1735 collection of Dryden’s works: DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ...
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Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and 20thC 'conscription'?

In Patrick O'Brians epic Albury-Maturin series, they describe the men on the ship as being "pressed from their chosen profession". My question is: Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and ...
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News lacks plural but what about TIDINGS?

News is used only in the singular (being one of the uncountable nouns). There is an old-fashioned word meaning pretty much the same - tidings, so my question is: Is this expression used only in ...
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What does the word 'Joll' mean in 18th century English?

What does joll mean in the following sentence? ... give him the upper or right hand, and walk not just even with him cheek be joll, but a little behind him, yet not so distant as that it shall be ...
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Help with older English couplet

I was translating a text, but then the author quoted an old poem by an author named John Ball. I have seen it written in two different forms: "Be war or ye be wo; Knoweth your frend from your foo" ...
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Archaic meaning of 'procure' - 1615 UK

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
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Figurative meaning of 'suit' - 1615 UK?

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
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English Typography in the 17th Century

I was browsing through some very old English texts when I came across this page from The memoires of Sir James Melvil of Hal-hill, by George Scot (1683). The first thing that struck me was the anatomy ...
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1610 Meaning of 'occasion'

Source: Journals of the House of Lords (1610) That whereas the House of Commons have already, among their Grievances, preferred a Petition to His Majesty, as of Right and Justice, That the Four ...
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What would be the modern equivalent for “a curtain lecture”?

I chanced on this expression while reading a book by David Crystal. In a chapter dedicated to words that have disappeared from the English language, he mentions this gem in Samuel Johnson's ...
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What is the grammatical construction in “Be but sworn”?

I have found several questions asking for the meaning, but the thing that troubles me here is the grammar actually and i haven't found anything on that. In Shakespeare's sentence "Deny thy father ...
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“If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon…”

There is an old quotation attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho' he build his house in the ...
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Modern English to Early Modern English [closed]

What will be a proper translation from modern english to Shakespearean english of this line: The Demon I have faced, is the Demon I have become.
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1607 writ by Edward Coke - Relative pronouns? [duplicate]

(Sir Edward) Coke further noted that legal disputes about such matters as inheritance of goods: are not to be decided by natural reason but by the artificial reason and judgment of ...
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135 views

Meaning - Conversation

(Source) And now Nineteen persons having been hang'd, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of ...
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Why did the personal pronoun “you” “survive” and not the others?

I was just wondering, since we started talking about the Early Modern English Period, for England the period of Renaissance, Shakespeare .... There were four cases in EMEnglish, thou (Subject case) ...
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Shouldn’t “art” be “is” in “Our Father who art in heaven”?

The Lord’s Prayer begins in English: Our Father who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Shouldn’t it be who is there, not who art? ...
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Why did the KJV use “thou” toward God?

The word "thou" (and similar variations of the Latin tu in other languages) was used between people for informal speech, and talking to people of lower standing. So why did people use it (most ...
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129 views

Thee or thou in these sentences: [duplicate]

Think thee that I would desert thee? Think thee that I don't care? or: Think thou that I would desert thee? Think thou that I don't care? Which one is right?
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“Cut their hawsers”

I'm annotating a late 16th or early 17th century English play for publication, and I'm having trouble making sense of a certain incident that takes place. I'm hoping someone familiar with Elizabethan ...
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Middle English or Elizabethan English as a second language? [closed]

Are there books, web sites, or language courses designed for English speakers who want to learn Middle English or Elizabethan English in the same way that they would learn a foreign language? It would ...
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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 ...
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146 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 ...
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229 views

Is there any extant movement for the revival of elements of Early-Modern English in regular, or academic usage?

I love Early-Modern English. It seems to me that words in Early-Modern English encode more information than their counterparts in Modern English. I know of a few English reform movements, but none ...
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158 views

Etymology of “Sort”

Did the English word sort originate from the French word sort? e.g., sortie. Whereas, in French its meaning derives to out, exit, going out. How did it end up in English to mean category, ...
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A thesaurus with archaic and obsolete words [closed]

Can you point me to any online thesaurus that contains obsolete, archaic, out-of-use synonyms for contemporary words? Google search is horribly unhelpful, yielding hundreds common thesaurus and ...
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370 views

How/When did English transform to the modern version we use today? [closed]

I know that a language evolves with time and constantly keeps itself up to people's needs. But when I read a bible or a poem of Shakespeare, I can see English was very different by then with sentences ...
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Noun verbs a-gerunding - the meaning of the “a-gerund” form?

The first time I saw this antiquated form was in Steeleye Span's interpretation of The Elf Knight ballad, but I tend to see it now and then and I don't quite know how it is used. Lady Isabel sits ...
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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 ...
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Differences between servant, maid, page, and attendant [closed]

In an airplane, the lady attending you is known as the attendant, besides sometimes being called a stewardess or air hostess. What does she do? Just serve you. Then what is that my maid does? ...
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English antonyms to rage, anger, annoyance [closed]

I would like to know if there are antonyms to words rage, anger, annoyance. I care about preserving the intensity of opposing words.