This is a paragraph from one of Wodehouse's books.

Nephew(also the narrator):"Golly!"

Aunt:"You may well say 'Golly!' Anatole, God's gift tothe gastric juices, gone like the dew off the petal of a rose, all through your idiocy. Perhaps you understand now why I want you to go and jump in that pond. I might have known that some hideous disaster would strike this house like a thunderbolt if once you wriggled your way into it and started trying to be clever."

Harsh words, of course, as from aunt to nephew, but I bore her no resentment. No doubt, if you looked at it from a certain angle, Bertram might be considered to have made something of a floater.

What does the phrase as from mean? Does it mean some kind of emphasis? Or are there any implied words which are not present directly, e.g. as (seen) from? Please give me some examples from the Internet of similar usage. Thank you.

  • I think from aunt to nephew behaves as a noun phrase. – honeybadger Jun 3 '17 at 18:47

It is used to emphasize that the bitter words spoken by the aunt to the narrator were much harsh for such a relation of love.

By the phrase "harsh words, of course, as from aunt to nephew," the narrator signifies that this level of a cruel harangue is generally not found in a relation between aunt and nephew.

Some examples of the phrase can be:

Compassion, as from one enemy to another, is incredible.

Unrestrained care, as from grandfather to grandson, is worth enjoying.*

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  • Hey thanks for the answer. This is really helpful. Can you please cite a source/reference as I am unable to find anything on the Internet related to this kind of usage of the phrase 'as from'? – honeybadger May 28 '17 at 6:14
  • Can I treat 'as from' equivalent of 'as in from'? 'As in' means 'in the case of ' – honeybadger May 29 '17 at 1:32
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    Generally, we use "as in from" to omit a particular word. For example- Compassion, as (shown) from one enemy to another, is incredible, we neglected the use of the word "shown". It is good to make yourself understand the phrase by using "as in from" but while writing use the original phrase (as from) only because it looks somewhat professional for writers. – user206150 May 29 '17 at 7:49
  • Thanks for the clarification. That seems to make sense. This particular phrase 'as from' with the usage you mentioned is not common, I think. Can you please give an instance(any reference/book/work) where this phrase was used with this meaning? – honeybadger May 29 '17 at 8:00
  • Since this phrase seems somewhat confusion to the readers, its usage is on a serious decline (books.google.com/ngrams/…) and hence I couldn't find any genuine example. In case I find it, I will let you know. – user206150 May 29 '17 at 8:20

Most usually as from is used in providing a time or date. e.g. As from Monday the business will be in new ownership.

However, in the case you describe here it simply: - as (spoken) from aunt to nephew.

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The phrase is not as from. The correct phrase, which by the way is not technically a phrase at all, is from... to: the exchange of harsh words said by the aunt ("from aunt") and addressed to her nephew ("to nephew").

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  • Thanks for clarifying my doubt. I had a similar explanation. Can you please check my answer above ? – honeybadger May 30 '17 at 8:16

Usage of the preposition 'as'.

Eg 1: You are not performing well as manager.

As a manager, you are not up to the mark

Eg 2: As a king, yours does not speak sensible words

As words spoken by a king, these are not sensible.

So, the phrase mentioned in the question simply means:

As (words) from aunt to nephew, these are harsh words.

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  • _'As (words) from...' _ You got it right! As (spoken) from in the above answer by WS2 is another equally correct interpretation. – English Student Jun 1 '17 at 16:04
  • @EnglishStudent Do you encounter this usage frequently? – honeybadger Jun 1 '17 at 16:06
  • I have early heard it used in this sense, but 'as from' is more often used as short form of 'such as, from...' [example: the law has allowed easier transfer of property between closely related persons, (such) as from parents to their offspring.] – English Student Jun 1 '17 at 21:35

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