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Questions tagged [archaic]

Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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Meaning of “throe” in context (“throe inheritance”) [closed]

I came across this passage in chapter 12 of David Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy: "Hail, greatest of Lords," she crooned, bowing deeply. "When thou comest into throe inheritance, remember that it was ...
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1answer
81 views

What is the possesive form of “ye”?

"Ye" is an archaic pronoun that is a plural form of "you". The possessive form of "you" is "your". The possessive form of "thou" is "thy" (or "thine" before an adjective). What is the possessive ...
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1answer
19 views

Usage of “[Name] of [Company]”

I believe I've heard a phrase such as Steven Stevenson of Microsoft or Kylie Kyleson of StackExchange How frequent is it to refer to someone in this way, or in other words, does it sound too ...
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0answers
29 views

As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me

It's from The Lord of the Rings: ‘Then I will declare my doom,’ said Faramir. ‘As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me under higher authority, I declare you free in the realm of Gondor to ...
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4answers
484 views

Sad and Melancholy yet Beautiful

I have been struggling to find a word that I, at one time, had seen in my vocabulary lessons. I am trying to describe something that is "beautiful or attractive" yet also possessing "sadness or ...
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3answers
2k views

Is “Who art” correct?

I came across these lines in a hymn: Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,Which wert and art, and ever more shalt be. I noticed that "wert", "art", and "shalt" were used with the subject ...
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0answers
32 views

Is the term “carriage return” outdated in a (near) post-typewriter world?

When we say "Return key" or "Enter key", either are clear in meaning to those with even very light keyboarding experience. But "Return" is a diminutive of "Carriage Return". Fully saying/writing "...
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1answer
41 views

Is this archaic usage or a mistake in the gutenberg version?

In the version of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" available on gutenberg.org here, this appears: "she told him at last that if he didn't quit using around there" Is the use of the word "using" here ...
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1answer
36 views

Is the use of “affect” to mean take on or assume archaic?

Recently came across the usage of "affect" in the context of assuming an appearance. Here is an example Google gives: an American who had affected a British accent How would this usage come across ...
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1answer
164 views

Meaning of “In an ill hour”

To all these words which Don Quixote said, a certain Biscaine squire, that accompanied the coach, gave ear; who, seeing that Don Quixote suffered not the coach to pass onward, but said that it must ...
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4answers
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Archaic phrase similar to “not give a damn”

I'm looking for a phrase that would mean I don't give a damn about it but could be used by a girl in the 1930s. It needs it to be very informal but not vulgar.
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1answer
342 views

'Amidst of' vs. 'Amidst'

I'm reading 'The Well at the World's End' by William Morris. I'm curious about some of the syntax he's used to invoke an archaic style. For instance, 'amidst of': '. . . he came on a shepherd lying ...
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2answers
623 views

Shakespeare's “say sooth” vs. “tell truth”

The noun sooth, pronounced /suːθ/, is now archaic and means ‘fact’,‘reality’ and ‘truth’. Its legacy persists in the words soothe /suːð/, and soothsayer meaning someone who sees the truth, a synonym ...
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2answers
91 views

Is the word “saboteuse” archaic?

Is it the word saboteuse considered archaic (or not fully added from French)? Should all saboteurs be referred to as such regardless of sex?
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2answers
321 views

Shakespeare's Macbeth “Conduct me to (mine) host” Mine host vs My Host

The first time I heard "mine host" in Shakespeare's Macbeth, I went to Wiktionary to see if it once was used instead of "my," however, I ended up with that it should not be followed by a noun but ...
3
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1answer
69 views

Was “famous” once used like how “awesome” is used colloquially in modern times?

Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon series of modern fiction book, set in the early 19th century, uses a somewhat archaic form of English to help communicate the setting. I must say that it works quite ...
3
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1answer
326 views

Medieval term for sister and brother in-law

Is there a medieval term for sister/brother-in-law? The only example I could find was in GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series where he uses the terms goodsister and goodbrother. Are those rooted ...
0
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1answer
503 views

How bad is it if I use inable rather than unable?

Reading on wikitionary as well as many other dictionary sites, the word inable is "obselete" or "rare". However, just in my internal monologue I use that word all the time, and to me it sounds better ...
2
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1answer
134 views

Is there a connection between wans't/wanst and wasn't?

Wasn't is the contracted form of was not. But wanst/wans't was an archaic adverb meaning once: "Be the bye, I wanst knew art ould woman of that name. She was my darling Tibbie, but a notorious ...
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1answer
65 views

What is the meaning of “mark” in this (probably archaic) usage?

In the script for Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, which is set in Europe in the late 1700s, there's a use of the word "mark" that I didn't understand. CAPTAIN GROGAN Well, if it must be, ...
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1answer
79 views

What does “werewith” mean in this context?

“You may remember the inquiries I made, when you werewith me in England, among such of my relations as were then living; and the journey undertook for that purpose.” — Quoted in Benjamin ...
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2answers
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Is the sentence “What to do?” very old fashioned idiomatic English, or is it simply ungrammatical?

On a foreign-language-learning forum there is a question that's given the English translation "What to do?" My impression is that that's an example of very old fashioned English. Maybe something I'd ...
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2answers
3k views

Meaning of “thou thee”?

What is the meaning of "thou thee" from the quotation below from this post. (Attributed to the attorney-general at Sir Walter Raleigh’s trial.) "All that he did was at thy instigation, thou viper; ...
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1answer
4k views

Is there a pattern between “thou and thee” when used in a sentence [duplicate]

For the past months, I've been trying to add thou, thee, thy, thine, and other archaic words in my everyday vocabulary; I just love archaic English words — and the Early Modern English grammar for a ...
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3answers
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Is “acediast” too rarefied to be acceptable in literature? [closed]

I'm editing a manuscript where the word "acediast" appears a perfect fit, but Merriam-Webster is the only online dictionary I can find that lists it as a word, with the exception of a few scrabble ...
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1answer
375 views

Is it common for a female to refer to her fellows as “brethren” ?

I know that "brethren" can mean "fellow members", but I have usually heard it used when a man is referring to his fellows or brothers. But can a female do that ? Let's assume I am the sole female in a ...
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0answers
84 views

Opposite of Therewithal

Below is the definition of therewithal according to google and several other sources. Therewithal: together with that; besides. "he was to make a voyage and his fortune therewithal" I was searching ...
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3answers
7k views

What was “m(o)ustache” called before the term entered the English language?

"Mustache" appears to be from the mid-late 16th century of French, possibly Italian/Spanish origin. 1580s, from French moustache (15c.), from Italian mostaccio, from Medieval Greek moustakion....
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2answers
116 views

Using `but` as a conditional limit on a clause. Also implied or omitted `if`

I wanted to communicate the following with someone: I would do this thing, if I could do it. However, always trying to be clever and using amusing, possibly archaic grammar I wanted to type: I ...
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1answer
742 views

Usage of whileas instead of whereas

I have a friend who in the two-three years I've known her will say "whileas" wherever I or other English speakers I know would say "whereas". She is a native English speaker and has read extensively (...
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Is/was there a word that pairs with “while” the same way “then” pairs with “if”?

If you understand these examples, you'll notice that I’m wondering whether both of these commas could be considered to be standing in for words. While I’m not sure such a word ever existed, I’ll ...
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2answers
257 views

Meaning of “Peron” as used in Le Morte d'Arthur

I am unable to find a fitting definition for the word "peron" as used in Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. The book uses many archaic words, but usually I am able to find the definition online ...
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1answer
183 views

“for the nonce” in dictionaries

I've seen that "for the nonce", which doesn't appear very often in the online versions of dictionaries, is just designated as "somewhat formal" in Merriam-Webster and not designated in the Oxford ...
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0answers
78 views

How do I convert my text corpus with archaic English to present English? [closed]

Problem: I have a Parallel Corpus in language pair English to XXX for my project. The English sentences in my corpus contain lots of archaic words (See sample below). Is there any way I can substitute ...
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2answers
1k views

Is the language used in patents archaic or intentionally obtuse? [closed]

Example: [f] moving said second cart to said proximate end of said scanning device so that said trays in said second cart be passed through said scanning device at said proximate end. Is the ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Had come to know? Is that correct grammar/English?

I am in the process of writing a speech about my experiences of being homeless, and I have run into a situation in which my advisor's opinion of the proper grammar/phrasing of a sentence and my own ...
3
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1answer
235 views

To make fiaunce to someone

From Le Morte d'Arthur: (modern edition) And when Sir Ector was come he made fiaunce to the king for to nourish the child like as the king desired; (original edition) And whan syre Ector ...
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1answer
101 views

Meaning of “the kynge gaf hem leue for fayne wold he haue ben accorded with her”

Here is a fragment of Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory: Thenne alle the barons by one assent prayd the Kynge of accord betwixe the lady Igrayne and hym / the kynge gaf hem leue / for fayne ...
3
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1answer
521 views

The meaning of “but or ever”

In this fragment from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, what does but or ever mean? I looked to heaven, and tried to pray; But or ever a prayer had gusht, A wicked whisper came, and made My ...
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1answer
437 views

Noun + Infinitive vs. Gerund + Noun

Here is a quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: And I had done a hellish thing, And it would work 'em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird That made the breeze to blow. Ah ...
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2answers
200 views

Is “deepo” an archaic spelling of “depot”?

In several places in Mark Twain and C.D. Warner's novel The Gilded Age, the word "deepo" is used. One such occurrence is the following: Dilworthy will be elected to-day, and by day, after to-...
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0answers
49 views

V-W switch in Dickens [duplicate]

As I was reading Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, I noticed some irregularities in the spelling choices. Specifically, in several words beginning with a v, Dickens switched them out with a w. Here are ...
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0answers
106 views

Origin of “turn thrice widdershins” [duplicate]

I've seen "turn thrice widdershins" (or variations thereof, such as "turn around thrice widdershins") several times online (1, 2, 3). It seems to be Gaelic in origin, having to do with fairies or ...
3
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1answer
987 views

Can “thereof” take a plural noun as a referent?

Just as the title states. I ask because most definitions only state "of that; of the thing just mentioned," but not of "things." Moreover, is "thereof" a pronominal adverb? And, as such, does it ...
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3answers
234 views

What is the exact historic meaning of gaming?

Did a few google searches on this, but not to my surprise, only results about video gaming come up. In Hamlet, Reynaldo says: "As gaming, my lord." to which Polonius replies "Ay, or drinking, ...
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3answers
279 views

Are “blindman” and “blind man” both correct? [closed]

Which is the correct spelling: blindman or blind man? Both are frequently used on the web, but blindman is marked as incorrect on the Internet and by Microsoft Word, and it is not found in most ...
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1answer
134 views

Looking for an “exotic” antonym for Bane

As a game developer, I have a few ways of symbolizing the effectiveness of attacks. My engine supports elemental damage mitigation through Resistances, and elemental weakness(a Fire based attack deals ...
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2answers
708 views

What is the true gender-neutral equivalent of “man”?

Man is a social animal. This sentence is understandable, but has two problems: The gender-neutral use of man is nowadays often seen as sexist. The phrasing seems archaic. Let’s ignore the second ...
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1answer
1k views

Use of “Look on” instead of “Look at”

In the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi there's a line: Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes. According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, it means: Watch without getting involved: ...
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2answers
427 views

What's up with the -es/-eth inconsistency in “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”?

This hymn was written more than a century ago, back when more people were aware of how Early Modern English arranged its conjugations. But in the second verse, there appears to be an inconsistency ...