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Never mind the laconic title. It's incontrovertibly a word. What I'd like to know is whether the little bugger has ever been recorded by lexicographers. I've ruffled a dozen dictionaries to no avail, and in COCA there is only one entry - and it's a scanning error._.

I am not interested in the flippant usages of this ilk:

  • "something like":

dude thats a glitch or somelike a bug. I already pulled the eye out of the tentacle and know it turn into a water snake or somelike that so please help me

  • "someone like that":

It reminds me of that other little 7-year old or somelike who was all pumped up and freaky.. (forum post)

However, the following usage (as a pronoun and an adjective) is perhaps more interesting. It might even be dialectal.

  • "something like that" or perhpaps "somesuch":

Given how big CA is, we may need to split things up into southern/northern or somelike. (Chris Allen from California, in a Church Music Association of America forum post)

  • "somesuch":

always have an axe or a broom or somelike item on the counter (Texas Cotton Farmers on the Southern Prairies, Google Books)

Ultimately, this source, written in the academic/scientific register, is what led me to further investigation:

Laycock then lauched into fwther speculation based on his ideas related to diathesis and considered the exudates and degenerations in the lung were similar to those of rheumatic origin in which lactic acid played a part, but the lactic acid was further metabolised into carbon dioxide and water. Let us suppose, said Laycock, there was an excess of lactic acid or somelike acid and the ordinary decomposition or metabolism interrupted then an irritant is brought into contact with the bronchial mucosa, would be like inhaling chlorine. (The Life and Work of Thomas Laycook 1812-1876)

Yet even I myself have hazarded on a chance occasion the use of somelike. I like this un-word. I like it more than somesuch (except when written, as is commonly done, as a phrase, some such), and think that they are more than slightly nuanced.

So, given that the word is clearly used, has it ever been recorded by lexicographers? Can anyone point me to a dictionary that includes it?

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  • Sorry, I can't really understand your question. Which usage are you actually interested in? You seem to have found perfectly valid examples what's wrong with them? It looks like there is a very interesting question buried somewhere in there but I can't see it.
    – terdon
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:31
  • The key question that concerns me is whether this word has ever been formally considered by lexicographers. Basically, can I use it, i.e., 'when' I use it, will I have something to back me up when they upbraid me for it?
    – Talia Ford
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:32
  • I edited your final question to make it clear. Feel free to revert if this is not what you meant.
    – terdon
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:37
  • I found another question. Unfortunately since that one includes the edits here it breaks the CC-BY-SA requirement.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 12, 2013 at 19:46
  • 1
    I note that the thesis you refer to is disfigured by numerous typographical errors, not all of which have been marked (e.g. 'morid' for 'morbid' on this very page). I suggest that 'somelike acid' here is supposed to be 'some like acid', in the sense 'some similar acid'. Sep 12, 2013 at 19:47

1 Answer 1

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The term some-like (in hyphenated form) appears as an entry in Robert Peacock, A Glossary of the Dialect of the Hundred of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands in the County of Lancaster (1869):

Some-like, adj., some, a few; as, "Some-like seemed ready to tek what tha offered, but not many. O[ld]Fris[ian] sumi-like, some, a few, Sw[edish] somlige, some.

The notion that it is strictly a regional term is less likely given the wide dispersion of seemingly legitimate instances of it found in an Ngram Viewer search of Google Books. For instance, the search finds this occurrence in Joaquin Miller, "The Gold That Grew by Shasta Town" in St. Nicholas (February 1889):

That great graveyard of hopes! Of men/Who sought for hidden veins of gold;/Of young men suddenly grown old—/Of old men dead, despairing when/The gold was just within their hold!/That storied land, whereon the light/Of other days gleams faintly still;/Somelike the halo of a hill/That lifts above the the falling night;

Miller was born in Indiana but moved to California during the 1849 gold rush and became known as the "Poet of the Sierras," according to Wikipedia. A California Regional Park near Oakland, California (where he died), is named after him.

Eight years later, the [New Zealand] Parliamentary Debates, November 2, 1897) includes this recorded instance:

Mr HALL-JONES urged honourable members to get on with the business. They had made very little progress, and the sittings cost somelike £30 an hour.

Several matches for somelike from much earlier appear in the search results, but most are either misreads of "some like" by the search engine or are faulty in other ways. One problem is evident from John Downame, The Christian Warfare (1634):

The which tentation we may easily answer, if we but remember that which already hath been deliuered; namely, that the best cannot attaine in this life unto such perfection of faith as is quite freed from all infirmities and corruption; that there are diuers degrees of true justifying faith , some weaker, some stronger, some in greater, and some in smaller quantitie, somelike smoking flaxe, and a graine of Mustard seed; and some like a bright burning flame which giueth light;

where the following of "somelike smoking flaxe" with "some like a bright burning flame" strongly suggests that "somelike" in the first phrase—though clearly a single word in the printed page, viewable here—is a typesetting error.

The two likeliest candidates for earliest confirmed sighting in the Google Books results are not certain. The first is Thomas Wilson, The Arte of Rhetorike for the use of all suche as are studious of Eloquence, sette forthe in Englishe (1553). Wilson is quoted in a footnote in Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry, volume 4 (1824), as follows:

In the bedsteade I will set Richard the thirde kinge of England, or somelike notable murtherer.

But some modern copies of The Art of Rhetorike [or Rhetorique] render "some like" as two words, and others omit it altogether. The occurrence in Warton's footnote is unmistakably one word, as you can see, though it may be a typographicl error itself. I haven't been able to find a photocopy of Wilson's 1553 text.

The other very early occurrence that qualifies as a possibly intentional usage of somelike is from The Motives of Richard Sheldon Pr. for his just, voluntary, and free renouncing of Communion with the Bishop of Rome (1612):

O most mercifull Sauiour of mankind, open their eyes, that they may see and lament all the all the abhominations which be committed within thy house within thy wals: and inspire into their harts, to keep their vessels in sanctification: and rather to vse, that remedie by thee and nature prouided, then to commit one of those nefarious sinnes, for which onely, thy most iust wrath might be iustly moued, to desolate the whole world, and to destroy not only the actors, but their associates and partakers in their idolatries, although otherwise themselues not to be touched with those enormious crimes, for which thy iust wrath with fire consumed those fiue Cities of old, as in like sort within this thy kingdome, thou diddest with fire consume, for like abhomination, a Monasterie of certaine religious as Beda relateth: and as at Valencine in the Low countries it is fearfully and horribly reported by a reverend Priest there, that it is doubted in that Citie by religious persons, that thy wrath did consume with fire, the Church and house of the Capuchine friers, for somelike abomination committed in their Church: althogh by some others it is giuen out, that the heretikes (so they call those of the reformed Church) did for malice cast fire vpon their Church, which was first of all with that reuengefull flame consumed.

I suggest that you look at the relevant page in Sheldon, and judge for yourself whether somelike is one word here or two.

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  • Sven, I'm really in a pinch for time right now to examine your answer in full, but know that you made my day ;)
    – Talia Ford
    Sep 16, 2013 at 3:27

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