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

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Does “'tis” means “this is” or “it is”?

I have found much trouble identifying the old word 'tis. Does it mean "this is" or "it is?" I have done some research and found that the dictionaries conflict. One said 'tis :An old English word ...
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What animal is a “weefil”?

What animal is depicted in this image labelled “weefil”?
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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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3answers
102 views

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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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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431 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
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1answer
70 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 I'm not particularly interested in hearing that they are old fashioned, out of date, or awkard.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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1answer
25 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
71 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
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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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1answer
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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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2answers
134 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, ...
6
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1answer
132 views

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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2answers
477 views

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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0answers
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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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4answers
135 views

What would be a 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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4answers
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Meaning of Early Modern English “iuie”

I found this phrase in Featherstone's Dedication at the front of an English translation of the Commentary on John by John Calvin: It is an old saying, (Right Honorable,) and no lesse true then ...
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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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3answers
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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 ...
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7answers
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What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?
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0answers
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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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1answer
304 views

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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1answer
84 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 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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1answer
84 views

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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5answers
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Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
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3answers
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What were nightmares called before “nightmare” was used in that sense?

Apparently the word "nightmare" has only been used in the sense of "bad dream" since c. 1829. Before then the term referred to the agent causing the dreams—a mare < mera, mære 'goblin, ...
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7answers
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Pronunciation of “zounds?”

I came across the sentence "Fortunately their are a variety of different offerings out there with zounds of features." Disregarding the misuse of "zounds," how would Elizabeth I have pronounced the ...
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4answers
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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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4answers
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How and why have some words changed to a complete opposite?

One example that comes to mind is terrific which originally denoted something quite terrorising while now it has positive connotations... How and why did these changes occur?
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Difference between Thee and thou?

What is the difference between thee and thou and how are they used?
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2answers
203 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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1answer
74 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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3answers
458 views

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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4answers
473 views

During what period of history did English use “ß”, the “sharp s” ligature?

The ß glyph is a lowercase letter than represents a ligature between a long s and a round s, and is still used today in (some versions of) German. Its uppercase equivalent is two characters instead ...
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1answer
105 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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1answer
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How obsolete is the word “overmorrow”?

I stumbled over the word overmorrow and wanted to know whether it is in use. So I used Googles Ngram Viewer and wondered why it has not found a single reference. Was overmorrow only used one time in ...
10
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1answer
576 views

Capital Letters from 1700 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Capitalisation of nouns in English (historically) After reading a recipe from 1747, I noticed that all of the nouns are capitalized. Is that a normal thing for that era? ...
2
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0answers
995 views

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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2answers
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How do you conjugate Early Modern English verbs (other than present tense)?

I was wondering how one might conjugate verbs in early modern English in various tenses. I am aware of the fact that for second person and third person singular specifically, the verb endings are -est ...
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2answers
299 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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1answer
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Word contractions in Shakespeare's plays

In Shakespeare's plays it is common to find contracted words, such as "o'er", "e'en", "sulph'uous", "ta'en". Is it just a literary device or those words were actually pronounced (in day-to-day speech) ...
9
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3answers
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-est vs. -st verb endings in Early Modern English

I've been Googling for a little while tonight, but I can't seem to find any rules on this. Irregular ("strong") verbs seem to be pretty set in their endings: goest, dost. But when I get to something ...
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1answer
148 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
212 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 ...
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1answer
654 views

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.
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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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Why did the old pronouns and their respective endings vanish from daily usage?

If I’m not wrong, the verb conjugation in the past used to be: I have we have thou hast ye have he/she/it hath they have This conjugation is closer to its equivalent in the ...