Dirkovitch, who had devoted himself steadily to the brandy—the terrible brandy aforementioned—did not understand, nor did the expurgated translations offered to him at all convey the point. Decidedly the native officer’s was the speech of the evening, and the clamor might have continued to the dawn had it not been broken by the noise of a shot without that sent every man feeling at his defenseless left side.

From Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Was"

I am unable to unable to understand why 'without' word has been used in the sentence. If 'without' is not used, the sentence makes perfect sense to me. Could someone elaborate on this?

  • @StoneyB I'll have you know that the neighbouring parish (village) to the one in which I live is known as Wokingham Without. It was formed in 1894 when the large parish of Wokingham was split in two and named Wokingham Within and Without. The former has dropped the "Within", and now has "town" status in local government. "Without" is obsolete? – WS2 May 21 '17 at 18:46
  • @WS2 You don't have to tell me about English fondness for archaicizing placenames. When I was very young I lived for several months in the village of Horton-cum-Studley. – StoneyB on hiatus May 21 '17 at 19:02
  • @StoneyB Ah, yes, just a mile or two from Charlton-on-Otmoor. Perhaps one of the things about the UK which is partly explained by the fact that we receive 35 million tourists per year, who collectively spend $25 billion! – WS2 May 21 '17 at 19:33
  • @StoneyB - Could you make that an answer, please? – aparente001 May 22 '17 at 4:03
  • @aparente001 As you wish. – StoneyB on hiatus May 22 '17 at 9:09

Without is used here in the intransitive sense “outside”. Within, correspondingly, may be used for “inside”.

Today these are obsolescent if not downright obsolete uses, but were quite common from Middle English into the early years of the twentieth century.

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.