Questions tagged [archaicisms]

Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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23 views

Figuring out the meaning and syntax of the English translation of Charmides

I was reading The Dialogues of Socrates translated into English and one particular sentence in Charmides sprung out as odd. I can't tell what it is trying to say, but I also can't figure out if it is ...
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3answers
47 views

What did “simples” mean in the 1800s?

This is from Mark Twain's "The Innocents Abroad": They flocked to our poor human doctor this morning when the fame of what he had done to the sick child went abroad in the land, and they ...
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1answer
33 views

Is “standard” an archaic synonym for an athletic team or club?

This was passed along to me (native US speaker) by a non-native speaker. A school in the UK asks for the following details... Games Teams and Standards Extra-curricular Activities ...in their ...
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33 views

Meaning of “for indeed”?

Given is the following paragraph (excerpt from The New Freedom, by Woodrow Wilson - 1913): For indeed, if you stop to think about it, nothing could be a greater departure from original Americanism, ...
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1answer
39 views

The Auxiliary “Be” in the King James Bible

The King James Bible has Job 30:2 as “Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?” which I understood to mean, “What use are their hands to me, men whose ...
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1answer
50 views

Prior to the 20th century, what was the noun for an individual person from a country whose demonym ends in '-ese'?

As a Redditor pointed out, using a demonym that ends in '-ese' as a noun sounds incorrect or at least awkward (especially a singular noun--someone on the thread writes, 'For example you could say “I ...
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1answer
78 views

What does “stat 1. c.18” mean?

I'm reading Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and I keep seeing these chronologic references to reigns of kings and queens in England: By the 12th of Queen Anne, too, stat. 1, c. 18 What do "...
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15 views

Definition of “as to own”?

Prepping for the GED RLA test, I came across this sentence (from Excerpt from A Defense of the Constitution of Government of the USA by John Adams): If we should extend our candor so far as to own ...
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27 views

When was “in the which” correct English grammatical usage?

In the King James Version of the Old Testament, the phrase "in the which" is used in Genesis 1:29, 42:38, 19:29, 45:6 and Numbers 6:5. It is also used in the New Testament: Luke 19:30, 23:29, John 4:...
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32 views

“And” meaning “if” or “as long as”

Can anyone confirm that there is an archaic use of the word "and" meaning "if" or "as long as"? For example: "Yes you can, and you do no harm." If you can ...
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28 views

Contemporary synonym of “thereanent” or “thereabout”

I want to express that one thing concerns another, using an adverb, such as in: I mended the sink and wrote her a note thereanent / thereabout. Meaning: I mended the sink and wrote her a note ...
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1answer
55 views

Should I use [sic] when quoting the KJV 1611?

I am currently working on a project for my Grade 12 religion class, and it requires (surprise, surprise) Biblical quotations. I have decided to use the 1611 KJV Bible and quote verses with very ...
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1answer
122 views

Meaning of “Friday face” in 1592

I was reading a pamphlet from the year 1592, published in London, and came across a rather obsolete and bewitching phrase: "The Foxe on a time came to visit the Gray, partly for kindered cheefly ...
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2answers
89 views

Is Dun / dunning archaic?

verb (used with object), dunned, dun·ning. to make repeated and insistent demands upon, especially for the payment of a debt. noun a person, especially a creditor, who duns another. a ...
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0answers
59 views

'MURDER“ or ”MURTHER" ? — Question on when distinct (archaic) spellings for words were used and when not

Salutations, I am currently writing a play that is being regulated to the very distinct notions of authentically replicating the English language and its archaic spellings during its usage in London, ...
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1answer
145 views

Expression: “To wish sb./sth. at the devil” meaning?

"Sancho Panza, who was wishing the goatherd's loquacity at the devil,..." Context: The goatherd was relating a lengthy story to Don Quixote, it was late at night and Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's ...
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1answer
54 views

“Here am I” vs “here I am”

Is my understanding correct that here am I is just an archaic form of saying here I am? That is what Google seems to tell me.
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12answers
5k views

Does English use the word ‘thou’ in any situations nowadays? [closed]

Does English use the word thou in situations nowadays? For example, to humiliate an opponent by being overly familiar?
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320 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 ...
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1answer
164 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
134 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
81 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
78 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
95 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
55 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
128 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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0answers
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
312 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
153 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
90 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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88 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
524 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
24 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
47 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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5answers
6k 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
50 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
90 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
45 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
584 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
748 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
1k 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
2k 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
184 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
897 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 ...
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1answer
89 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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
2k 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 ...

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