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[OED] inasmuch {adverb} = [Etymology:]
originally 3 words in as much (in northern Middle English in als mikel), subsequently sometimes written as 2 words, in asmuch, and now (especially since 17th cent.) as one.

†3. in as much (Without as [afterwards])
= [4.] In an equal or like degree, likewise. (Obs[olete].)

(TL;DR) To parse inasmuch, I consider its original form as 3 separate words, per above.

1. Which do the 3 separate words (in as much) mean individually? Which definitions from OED match each word? OED is linked here for your convenience: in, as, much.

2. How did the bolded 3 morphemes combine to mean definition 4? For example, 3 contains no word that means degree in definition 4. So whence did degree originate?

Please expose and explain all hidden, missing semantic drifts. I read this, but wish to dig deeper.


Guesswork and Optional Reading (Please feel free to ignore this):

'Equate terms' in 3 and 4 above. Then:

5. as appears to equate to 'equal or like'. But this equalisation appears false, because as cannot be an adjective, while 'equal or like' is an adjective (phrase). So which definition of OED matches as?

6. much appears to equate todegree. But this is false, because much must be a determiner or pronoun, while degree is a noun. So what did much mean here?

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    Insofar as I can see, this question is just like so many others inasmuch as it is tries to look too hard for the simple answer which just pops out in that those are all effectively synonyms. Don’t let the spacing distract you. – tchrist Jul 10 '15 at 23:25
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Your premise is wrong: "much" doesn't have to be a determiner or a pronoun. It may be an adverb, meaning "approximately," as the OED notes, "[c]hiefly qualifying expressions denoting similarity."

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  • Sorry, but it’s unclear to me how this answers my question. Even if much is an adverb, then how does much compare with degree? – NNOX Apps Jul 10 '15 at 13:43
  • @LePressentiment "Compare with degree" is just something you made up. "As" means like; "much" means approximately; "inasmuch" means in the circumstances approximately equal to that which follows the next "as." – deadrat Jul 10 '15 at 14:03
  • Thanks. 1. Can you please cite which OED definition supports your writing that "As" means like? 2. You wrote circumstances above, but where is circumstances reflected in inasmuch? Notice that the definition above excludes as; I just wish to focus on inasmuch. – NNOX Apps Jul 10 '15 at 14:07
  • 1. A.II.3 or B.I.1 2. That's what the "in" means. 3. "inasmuch" is always paired with "as," so your focus is out of. – deadrat Jul 10 '15 at 14:17
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    @LePressentiment Inasmuch as time permits. – deadrat Jul 21 '15 at 1:23

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