The dictionaries unanimously include the word from in their definitions of henceforth:

M-W: from this point on

  • Henceforth, supervisors will report directly to the manager.

Cambridge: starting from this time:

  • Henceforth, the said building shall be the property of Brendan Duggan.

Collins: from this time onwards

  • We were finally released with a formal warning that we were henceforth barred from the base.

So it strikes me as redundant to say from henceforth. Yet I see it used a few times used in the KJV Bible. For example

KJV Luke 5:10 And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Not surprisingly, Shakespeare also uses it in Henry IV:

I will from henceforth rather be my Selfe,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, then my condition.

FreeDictionary records an instance in a legal text:

He said pending the coming into effect of the amendment, Chambers, from henceforth, dispenses with the requirement of such service on it.

Is there an explanation for this redundant use? English seems to me a language that avoids redundancy when it can, and henceforth can clearly stand on its own. Then, why the from in from henceforth?

Note that I am very interested in antiquated language and will not mind if the explanation includes outdated examples (I would even encourage it).

Note: I hadn't noticed it before, but I see that the same problem also occurs with other words like whence, thence and hence, or their compounds. Although they all contain the idea of from, they are seen used together with from.

  • Certain regions tend to omit 'of' in say "He looked out the window" but include it after 'inside' before a NP. Aug 17, 2021 at 16:37
  • 2
    Another one is whence, which supposedly means from where, but Psalm 121 has 'from whence'. Aug 17, 2021 at 16:46
  • @KateBunting The thing is, both "henceforth" and "whence" are also used on their own in the Bible. Which makes me wonder even more...
    – fev
    Aug 17, 2021 at 16:49
  • 1
    None of your three contemporary dictionary definitions uses “from henceforth.” The from is part of the definition.
    – Xanne
    Aug 17, 2021 at 17:15
  • 2
    Garner: "From henceforth. This phrase is an ARCHAISM that the OED records as having last been current in the 17th century. Today the word from ought to be rooted out of the phrase--e.g..." and gives modern instances with the from.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 17, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


Hence is part of an old paradigm in English:

Locative   Ablative     Dative
(at             from           to)
Here       Hence       Hither
There     Thence     Thither
Where   Whence   Whither

As such, it means a near (not far -- that would be thence) and known (not unknown -- that would be whence) place (or point in time) from which some path (or some length of time) is to be measured. It is therefore a proper object of from (that's the "ablative" sense). The phrase from hence forth thus means from this time forth. As usual, the phrase has been shortened by chopping off the preposition, leaving only two old words with odd senses, which makes it a better fixed phrase.

  • 1
    I've not seen "locative/ablative/dative" (Latin declension terms) applied to the here/there paradigm before. Is there a standard textbook that adopts those terms, because they're really not accurate!
    – user430882
    Aug 17, 2021 at 22:33
  • No, they're just indications for those who want formal terms. The prepositions are just as accurate. Aug 18, 2021 at 1:50

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