Questions tagged [early-modern-english]

Early Modern English was used from the late 15th century to the mid to late 17th century.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
2k views

If “thy” is an informal pronoun, then why does The Lord's Prayer use it to refer to God? [duplicate]

The commonly used version of this Christian prayer comes from the King James Bible 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come,...
0
votes
4answers
29k views

Word for a person who is always lying? [duplicate]

What is the most suitable word for a person who doesn't feel shame in telling a lie? Or is always lying? Is 'Proud Liar' a good word?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is Shakespeare's Double Negative Grammatically Wrong?

In Act I Scene I of The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare's character Salarino uses a double negative in the phrase Not in love neither?, is this grammatically wrong or was this acceptable at the time? [...
7
votes
2answers
11k views

On THE other hand or on another hand?

I'm editing a manuscript which takes place in 1854 Britain. I've run across two uses of "on another hand" used in place of "on the other hand." Is this proper vernacular for the era or should I edit ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

Does the word “spicy” predate the Columbian exchange, and if so, in which ways was it used?

Europe did not have any kind of capsicum or chili pepper before the Columbian exchange of the 15th and 16th centuries. These days many people feel that the word "spicy" only describes the kind of "...
10
votes
1answer
504 views

What were Red Admiral and White Admiral butterflies called before 1627?

The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and White Admiral (Limenitis camilla) butterfly species cannot have had those common names before 1627, when the English Navy (the predecessor of the Royal Navy) was ...
0
votes
0answers
93 views

Is “to say” in Hamlet's “and by a sleep to say we end” an infinitive or an adverb?

I was trying to identify the word classes of Hamlet's famous monologue "To be or not to be", and I'm really having trouble deciding what word class "to say" in "and by sleep to say we end the ...
-4
votes
1answer
1k views

Do vs Dost, the difference [closed]

"Thou coward knight, why wilt thou not do battle with me?" -The Age of Chivalry, Chapter 16 In this sentence, why is do not dost? Very commonly do I see the word dost be used in older text in place ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What was “static electricity” known as before the discovery of electricity?

People must have dealt with static electrical discharge for thousands of years; well before they began to understand the principles of electricity. What would a static discharge be called in early ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

What word did Middle English have in place of “light" as in: “light blue”, “light green” etc.?

In English, we often use the adjective light before another colour to express a whiter shade of hue. For example, light blue, light green, light brown, etc. The term pale is used in a similar way, e....
1
vote
1answer
172 views

Is there a modern book comparable to Crabb's English Synonymes?

EDIT: I am looking for a book to make a study of modern synonyms. @WS2 recommended what appears to be a book of exceptional quality, but it has great depth in a few topic areas rather than a breadth ...
6
votes
3answers
300 views

In EModE should 'may' become 'mayest' when expressing a wish

I'm translating a text from Sanskrit, which has a singular/plural (and, actually, dual) distinction in the second person. It has long been the custom in English translation to render the 2nd singular ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

How do you parse 'by this which is said'? (1654 UK)

Preface: I first encountered the following on p 83, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (2012) by Prof Sharon Kaye (MA PhD in Philosophy, U. Toronto). I already tried, but do not see a modern ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

“The Words That Maketh Murder” by PJ Harvey

Re. the PJ Harvery song, "The Words That Maketh Murder". I have read some debate as to whether maketh is correct. See linguaphiles.livejournal.com. That discussion was I think inconclusive. One ...
2
votes
1answer
240 views

What was the usage of EModE’s four-form system for answering yes–no questions?

It is well-known that Early Modern English, if not earlier forms of English too, had a four-form system for answering yes–no questions. ‘Yea’ and ‘nay’ answered questions phrased positively (analogous ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Ridpath's Boethius translation

I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I'll do it anyway. I am a student from Austria and one of our professors has given us a task which seems rather demanding. He wants us to analyze ...
8
votes
6answers
651 views

“As I am wo/man” in Twelfth Night, II, 2 (Shakespeare): a case of indefinite article omission or no?

Are "As I am man" and "As I am woman" in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, II, 2 examples of indefinite article omission or not? This question is (e)specially directed towards those familiar with ...
5
votes
1answer
467 views

What does “ioyning” mean?

From Butter’s news serial, 2nd August, 1622: The certaine Newes of this preſent Weeke. BROVGHT BY SVNDRY Poſts from ſeuerall places, but chiefly the progreſſe and arriuall of Count ...
72
votes
5answers
6k views

Why “the powers that be”?

In the phrase "the powers that be," as in the sentence: It would never have occurred to the powers that be to run and supervise the National Lottery from anywhere but London. (Oxford ...
4
votes
3answers
315 views

What does 'measuring cast' mean? (1660, UK)

Source: 'Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance', by Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal. How do you decide ...
5
votes
2answers
337 views

Why did final -ie become so popular during early Modern English?

A hallmark of Early Modern English is that it exhibits a lot of variance between the use of final -y and -ie. In the 16th century -ie is even found in Old English words, eg stonie. And Mulcaster in ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

Earlier in the day meaning? [closed]

Today ,while reading news paper I came across the sentence "she had gone shopping earlier in the day " ....what does it mean ......? My conjecture "yesterday ?
7
votes
1answer
124 views

Roger Ascham his language

As I was finishing Ascham's "Toxophilus" I've stumbled over this phrase, the meaning of which remained unclear to me: "An other wil stand poyntinge his shafte at the marke a good whyle and by and by ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

Is there a resource for viewing all the languages? [closed]

Maybe this is the wrong website, but is there a link to see all the languages (current and past)?
13
votes
5answers
19k views

Thank thou or Thank thee

How would Shakespeare have said "Thank you"? Can't decide if it is thee or thou, since it isn't really a sentence.
0
votes
3answers
3k views

How did you know when to say “thing haveth or something”? [duplicate]

I have been watching Hocus Pocus and wondered how people in the 1800s knew when to add eth on the end of words.
3
votes
2answers
402 views

A word or term for driver /car taking no passengers

I need a term or a single word in traditional English or modern English which specifies "a car which has nothing but the driver & empty seats" Please help.
-1
votes
1answer
134 views

Childhood, English(England) rhymes are so disappointing,why? [closed]

When I was a kid, I was taught these poems: Georgie porgie Humpty Dumpty I know Humpty Dumpty was actually a canon, but still it was taught as Egg twins. So only take it on context of rhyme. Piggy ...
5
votes
1answer
511 views

18th century phrase, the “Great End”

In the grant for the Philips Academy there is language which I find difficult to ascertain the real meaning. From the bottom of page 463 here ...to lay the foundation of a free public School or ...
1
vote
1answer
273 views

What does “gages and safety pledges” mean in Henry VIII era English?

What does gages and safety pledges mean in this old passage, and when is the Octave of St. Michael? The King to the Sheriff of Notthinghamshire: greeting. If John Smith shall make you secure to ...
0
votes
1answer
12k views

Archaic English new words: from a Nigerian [closed]

A Nigerian Governor was being interviewed by a local Television station. He was speaking of the political situation of Rivers state in Nigeria. Nigeria is an English speaking country because it was a ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Principles in the use of letters 'b', 'u' and 'v' in Early Modern English typography

I have been reading a medical book by one late surgeon Thomas Gale. I was wondering the following mix-up of letters 'u','v' and 'b'. This states: "to have the cure of". Letter 'u' is used in the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

“That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ…”

That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ; but that old ones should be abolished, we hold no prediction. This is a quote from Religio Medici (1643) by Thomas Browne. It's quoted in ...
1
vote
2answers
594 views

Word to describe the structure that holds/stores a shield (and possibly other weapons)

I am looking for a word that would used to describe either many shields, or a structure that would be used to carry them in storage. If I look at this medieval photo, there is a wooden structure on ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Up with the… ” (complete the saying for waking up early) [closed]

If you wake up early, what is the saying for this? Beginning with the words: "Up with the..."
1
vote
2answers
328 views

What is the grammatical designation of “that” in “…that she may have…”?

The following sentence is the Modern English translation of a line from the Old English poem Judith: He (God) advanced a gracious favour to her, that she may have a steadfast faith. My question ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is English considered easier to learn than most of the other languages in the world? [closed]

In comparison to the other languages, I think English is much more simpler. For example, compared to French, English nouns have no gender, adjectives have only one form and verbs have extremely simple ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Explanation of a sentence in “Adam lay ybounden”

In the carol "Adam lay ybounden", there's a line that goes: As clerkes finden, written in their book Is "finden" the infinitive form of "find"? I thought it should be "found" or maybe "would ...
5
votes
4answers
650 views

Where can I find a modern English version of King James’s “Counterblaste to Tobacco”?

I find A Counterblaste to Tobacco by James I very interesting. Many people are under the impression that anti-tobacco sentiment began in the last century, and this document pretty thoroughly refutes ...
3
votes
1answer
704 views

Early Modern English second person present tense when verb ends with ‑st

In Early Modern English you normally would add ‑st or ‑est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end ...
3
votes
5answers
169 views

No direct object in 'give thee faithfully to follow' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington)

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington If the Lord would show thee but this one thing, -- that to use "thee" and "thou" to a particular person is proper ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

What's the subject of 'mind not so much to know' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington) [duplicate]

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington The Lord so guide thee, manifest himself to thee, help thee, and lead thee by his Holy Spirit and power, as that thou ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is an “aglet-baby” exactly?

This is a line from the Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare Grumio [to Hortensio]: Marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby . . . Although 'aglet' is an extremely uncommon word, its meaning can ...
0
votes
1answer
537 views

What is the early modern equivalent of ' I think ' [closed]

Would the term 'I think' be used in this era? I'm looking at translation for a piece of art, I'm wanting to translate flippant/meaningless language from today (things people say drunk, tweets etc.) ...
1
vote
1answer
112 views

Grammaticality - 'what care I then for the Ridicule' (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Google Source: p 169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] In vain do I strive to through of [throw off] in the company of my ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Which does 'your affection in the least diminished by…' mean? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] 1 cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this perticular as I have ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Why did Abigail Adams write 'all' twice? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: pp 168-169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I will not finish the sentence, my Heart denies the justice of the ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

What does Abigail Adams mean by 'Score of misfortune' (1778 November, US)?

Original Source. Google Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a Heart too ...
16
votes
2answers
635 views

Odd possessive form of a proper name: Why does Dryden write “Lord Nonsuch his” instead of “Lord Nonsuch’s” but “Bibber’s” instead of “Bibber his”?

While researching a question posed on EL&U, I came across this list of the characters in John Dryden’s The Wild Gallant (1663), from a 1735 collection of Dryden’s works: DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ...
2
votes
1answer
853 views

Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and 20thC 'conscription'?

In Patrick O'Brians epic Albury-Maturin series, they describe the men on the ship as being "pressed from their chosen profession". My question is: Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and ...