2

For example, instead of spelling it as extraordinary, you would write it as extrꜵrdinary.

This also applies to its derivations, such as instead of extraordinaire, you would write extrꜵrdinaire.

I'm aware that in the early days of European metallic typesetting, ligatures were often used as an effort-saving method (less matrices would need to be made). Gutenberg started using his printing press commercially around 1450 CE, and the earliest known usage of the word extraordinary according to the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1460 CE (see below). So it may have been a plausible option for them to have done this for the same reason.


Note: The OED entry requires a subscription, so I included the quote it references here:
c1460 J. Fortescue Governance of Eng. (1714) 39 "The Kyngs yerly expencs stondyn in chargs Ordynarye, and in chargs Extraordynary."

  • 1
    I am not sure your question is about the English language usage: extraordinary (adj.) early 15c., from Latin extraordinarius "out of the common order," from extra ordinem "out of order," especially the usual order, from extra "out" (see extra-) + ordinem, accusative of ordo "order" (see order (n.)). Related: Extraordinarily; extraordinariness. etymonline.com/… – user66974 May 29 '15 at 15:32
  • 2
    I have no fonts on my PC here which cope with that Unicode character :-( – Andrew Leach May 29 '15 at 15:36
  • In certain older texts (typically British), the use of the ligatures æ and œ is common in words such as archæology, diarrhœa, and encyclopædia. Such words have Latin or Greek origin. Nowadays, the ligatures have been generally replaced in British English by the separated digraph ae and oe (encyclopaedia, diarrhoea); but usually economy, ecology, and in American English by e (encyclopedia, diarrhea; but usually paean, amoeba, oedipal, Caesar). In some cases, usage may vary; for instance, both encyclopedia and encyclopaedia are current in the UK. – user66974 May 29 '15 at 15:41
  • 2
    There being so few words with ao in English, and there being no linguistic reason to join these letters in extraordinary, do you have any reason to believe these two letters would have been chosen for a ligature other than the current pronunciation of the word (which was probably not the pronunciation in 1600, as if it had been, we would likely be spelling it extrordinary today)? – Peter Shor May 29 '15 at 16:47
  • 2
    And judging from Shakespeare, extraordinary had six syllables at the end of the 16th century. Otherwise, the following lines containing that word would not have scanned: These signs have mark'd me extraordinary and Afford no extraordinary gaze. – Peter Shor May 29 '15 at 16:54
1

It seems not, at least from Google's perspective. The Google ngram viewer for extrꜵrdinary returns no results from 1500 to 2000.

  • Thanks. Quite the awesome answer. I love answers that gives data-backed responses to speculative questions. 👍 – user123402 Jun 5 '15 at 0:50
  • 1
    Yes, sorry. I can't down-vote myself unfortunately. A google ngram search is flawed and probably doesn't really address your question for many reasons, the least of which is that perhaps any ligatures in old scanned text are torn-apart to fit with Unicode character set. And of course, I should have taken into account historic spelling: [link] (books.google.com/ngrams/…) – lithic Jun 6 '15 at 5:53
  • It's okay. We can only do our best. :) And I'm sorry; did my comment seem sarcastic? :/ Because I was serious. I like your answer...a lot. – user123402 Jun 6 '15 at 23:01
  • 1
    The ambiguity of asynchronous communication... :) . No problem, in fact it was the praise that made me question whether that was really an awesome answer. I have just checked, though, and 'encyclopædia" does show up in google's ngram interface as far back as 1582, so the absence of extraordinary with a ligature may be meaningful. [link] (books.google.com/ngrams/…) – lithic Jun 7 '15 at 4:41
  • Lol, I totally understand that feeling. And yes I would agree. It would seem that if it were used, we would probably see at least a few etymological "fossils", so-to-speak. The fact that it doesn't show up (and sure, it's only Google, but Google has a huge database) I think means something. Either that or most of the only known examples have been eradicated via the Unicode ablation you mentioned, which is I think unlikely to have eliminated all of the remainders. – user123402 Jun 7 '15 at 5:34

Your Answer

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