For this ELL question, a desire for concision motivated me originally to use 'somewhy' instead of 'for some reason'; afterwards, a user kindly advised that 'somewhy' obsolesced. Why?

Google introduced me to http://somewhy.com/, whose author delineates his confusion of the absence and his reasoning justifying 'somewhy' (identical to mine). Though his questions have not been answered and
" "Somewhy" didn't appear in the dictionaries I [he] checked " ,
OED's entry does not answer our questions either:

somewhy {adv.} = {rare.} For some reason or reasons.

Postscript: I read this Wikipedia page on pro-form, which displays the correlatives for 'why', but doesn't explain their obscurity. The lone prevalent exception is 'therefore'.

  • 7
    Somehow (and somewhy) it just never caught on. Maybe not enough somewhos liked the way it sounds. I don't know why—nor do I know whether somewho else would. Maybe they'll show up somewhen, if not now. – Brian Hitchcock Apr 5 '15 at 5:44
  • 2
    @BrianHitchcock Somewho use somewhen, but I don't know somewhich. – WS2 Apr 5 '15 at 7:48
  • 2
    This question is awesome :) Also this gives me an idea for a folk etymology for Summer: Somehere :) – Neil Apr 5 '15 at 8:33
  • And anywhy and anywhen and somewhen and... And anyone lived in a pretty how town... – Drew Apr 5 '15 at 16:51
  • 1
    The reason that it can’t be found in most dictionaries (e.g. Merriam Webster or OOD) might be that it is used scarcely. As “Ask the editor” video (merriam-webster.com/video/index.php) at Merriam Webster’s website explains, it takes a lot of documented usage (many citations, from various sources, over a period of time) for a word to make it into a dictionary. So the word has to be used extensively to become a new dictionary entry, and as Brian pointed out this is just not the case with “somewhy” (yet). @LawArea51Proposal - I hope that this is better :-) – Lucky Apr 25 '15 at 4:35

Simply because language does not work that way, and most of it is arbitrary. Forms fall into disuse and new borrowings enter the language all the time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.