What is the meaning of "derives unto" in this sentence by James Shirley:"thou canst not see What blemish she derives unto our name"?

2 Answers 2


derive unto OED †4. transf. and fig.

Categories » a. To convey from one (treated as a source) to another, as by transmission, descent, etc.; to transmit, impart, communicate, pass on, hand on. Const. to, into, unto, rarely upon the recipient. ** unto** or arch. (rare after 1750).

As in:

a1661 T. Fuller Worthies (1662) Bucks. 136 Parents..rich enough to derive unto him the hereditary infirmity of the gout.

Shirley's use, in the early 17th century was not atypical of English writers, but the use of to derive unto is registered as archaic.


derive is defined by Oxford as:

derive something from

  1. Obtain something from (a specified source)

    ‘they derived great comfort from this assurance’

Reading into the meaning of the sentence, what the author is trying to say is that a blemish is derived or obtained from something unknown and applied unto "our name".

  • Yes. To paraphrase the original quotation: "You have no idea how seriously she is damaging our reputation."
    – Charl E
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 11:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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