Questions tagged [archaicisms]

Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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26 views

“Often” as a number in _Robinson Crusoe_ [closed]

In Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, the title character uses the word "often" as a number. For example, in Chapter 9 this appears. It was five feet often inches diameter at the lower part next ...
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1answer
45 views

Difference yea/nay and yes/no - four-form system [duplicate]

So, my brother is watching on tv a vote a in the American Congress. He says that the members are asked to vote with yea/nay (I have heard that from the Chamber of Commons in the UK as well). Now we ...
4
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1answer
136 views

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November?

According to everything I can find1,2, and all usages I can remember ever coming across, hath is the 3rd person singular present tense of have, and not the plural. So why does the rhyme go as follows?...
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3answers
115 views

Should 'dotard' be considered archaic?

I don't think I've ever heard or seen it used by anyone except N. Korea.
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1answer
74 views

What literary or author's style is this writer channeling?

In The Washington Post, Alexandra Petri wrote a satirical opinion piece criticizing anti-abortion laws in the United States by parodically lamenting the routine death of spermatazoa. I was struck by ...
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0answers
71 views

In my pronouns god me defend

The motto of the UK monarch is apparently not the same in all parts of the kingdom: In Scotland, it is: In My Defens God Me Defend Ok, but - how do I pronounce this? Is "defens" pronounced like ...
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1answer
74 views

What is an archaic, rare noun or word for an archetypal, vengeant, past tensive male character who is of the past that many aspire to be like?

What I mean is "someone of old" that people could be drawn to. One who is stuck in the past and in his ways and dislikes the future. Something like: • an originator • an innovator • a predecessor • ...
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2answers
2k views

In the old name Dreadnought, is nought an adverb or a noun?

The name Dreadnought, a class of naval ship, originates from the eponymous HMS Dreadnought. Wikipedia indicates that Dreadnought's name, and the class of battleships named after her, means "a ...
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1answer
48 views

auxiliary do-support: do murder

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 98, reads Auxiliary do was used more widely in earlier stages of the language, and in certain genres one comes across archaic uses that go ...
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5answers
6k views

In 1700s, why was 'books that never read' grammatical?

Naomi Baron, in Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (1 edn 2015). p. 16, quoted Daniel Defoe's The Compleat English Gentleman, composed in the early 1700s: I hate any thing that ...
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4answers
106 views

Stitched applications

In old cartoons there is often _____ hanging on the wall, reading "home, sweet home" and the like, often framed. As far as this question is concerned, this stuff is sewen, stiched, knitted, you tell ...
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38 views

17th Century term for Mother [duplicate]

I'm writing a story where my main character calls out for her mother, and I'm having trouble with what word I should be using. The story is set around the 1660s London, my main character is of low ...
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2answers
294 views

The popularity of the word “coeval” has been declining for over 100 years now. Why? [closed]

According to Ngram, anyway. The vast majority of English speakers seem to have no idea what the word means. Now why is that? UPDATE: After reading some of the responses: As a noun.
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2answers
109 views

Salute usage as Firecracker

Recently, I learned about another meaning for the word "Salute": A firecracker. However, I could find this definition in only one online dictionary (M-W): firecracker (q.v.) ... together ...
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1answer
68 views

Are any two words that are synonyms and homonyms of each other

Are there any examples of any English words that are both synonyms and homonyms of each other? I would guess that over time one would become considered an alternate spelling and die out, so perhaps ...
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1answer
73 views

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
380 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
23 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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38 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
3k 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 ...
13
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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
40 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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2answers
86 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
42 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
436 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
503 views

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
733 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
1k 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
134 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
702 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
78 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 ...
2
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1answer
766 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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
162 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
81 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
88 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
164 views

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
9k 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
1k views

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 ...
2
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1answer
607 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
102 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
147 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
1k 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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86 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
281 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 ...
3
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1answer
244 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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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 ...

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