Questions tagged [archaicisms]

Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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0answers
43 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, ...
3
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1answer
103 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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5answers
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 ...
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1answer
43 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
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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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2answers
471 views

Reason why tantalium became obsolete

A search in google clearly shows that the word tantalum is the correct spelling of the word and is widely used today. What made me curious was this Wikipedia entry wrote: Previously known as ...
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3answers
16k views

Older ways to say “Dear” when writing a letter

"Dear" has become a polite introductory word from the 15c. I would like to know of older, archaic words that were, perhaps, used in its stead or alongside it. From the old letters I reviewed I found ...
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1answer
114 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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2answers
299 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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3answers
119 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
77 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 ...
4
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1answer
149 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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4answers
587 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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3answers
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Why “answer me” but not “answer me the question”?

Why are "answer me" and "answer the question" acceptable but not "answer me the question"? Is it similar to "explain me (something)"?
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2answers
15k views

Terms for “half a decade”

Is "lustrum" (pl. lustra) an understandable (say, at least in academic publications) or valid/common term for a five year span, e.g. to use in a table summarizing data where space can be very valuable?...
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0answers
73 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
84 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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6answers
13k views

When should I use archaic and obsolete words?

I'm learning the English language, and while reading Merriam-Webster I often see common words with additional "obsolete" and "archaic" descriptions added to their definitions. When should I use them,...
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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
51 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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2answers
116 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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2answers
87 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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4answers
112 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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1answer
423 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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3answers
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“Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten”: what is forgotten?

Inspired by this question (which in turn was inspired by that one), to what name does "that is forgotten" apply to? Many are my names in many countries: Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the ...
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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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1answer
75 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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2answers
710 views

Am I the only person to use “punch up” to mean “remind someone”?

I have always used "punch up" in the context of reminding or prodding someone for something such as: "I just punched up Jane that she needs to turn in her vacation schedule" When I used this ...
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1answer
78 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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3answers
2k views

Did 'the' in 'the which' mean anything?

Because OED's entries for this archaic definite article + relative pronoun 'the which' only redirect to definitions of 'which', am I correct to infer that 'the' meant nothing semantically in 'the ...
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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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2answers
764 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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5answers
6k views

Exsanguination or Desanguination?

My wife was working on her lines for a play (Dracula) set in the early 1900s and one line caught my eye. It referred to the desanguination of the vampire’s victims. I’d always heard the term as ...
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6answers
13k views

What is the origin and use of “remember me to her/him”?

Is anybody familiar with the use of remember as in remember me to her/him? I think I've see it in 19th century literature. Most likely it's archaic. I believe the speaker is commanding someone to ...
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0answers
40 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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1answer
84 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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2answers
5k views

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns"

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns" What does this metaphor mean and what is the origin? I know it is an ancient one, but couldn't find anything else! Is it obsolete now?
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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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5answers
442 views

Adam lay ybounden. Any ys around these days?

Thanks for pointing out the similar question. Great, but note that I'm trying to find ... • is there any SPECIFIC examples/evidence around of yword yusage TODAY? • other than jokey usage, is there ...
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0answers
42 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
43 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
521 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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2answers
3k views

“You're a crooked jerky jockey, and you drive a crooked hoss!” — What's a Hoss?

So, it's that time of year, and every once in a while I'll hear the Grinch's tune on the radio. One line that has always confused me is the line You're a crooked jerky jockey, and you drive a ...
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3answers
15k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
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3answers
290 views

Is afeast or possibly affeast, afeest etc. a word?

My English (vai Liverpool)-Canadian mother used this word to mean 'disgusted by' or 'repulsed by.' Example: "he is afeast of mixed foods." meaning you think mixed foods are disgusting or inedible. I ...
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3answers
168 views

What does it mean to have “whipped top”? (Shakespeare/archaic usage)

e.g. in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, Scene 1: Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten till lately. I assume it's some form of game or ...
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1answer
351 views

Replacing “do you have” with “have you”

Found a similar question here, but with some minor differences. Is it archaic to use have you in sentences such as this: John : I think we can see it with a specially crafted telescope. Mary : ...
2
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1answer
896 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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