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Questions tagged [eighteenth-century-english]

For questions about English in the 18th century (1701 to 1800)

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Was there a single word or simple phrase that had the same meaning as silhouette before it entered the language

The word silhouette has its origins in Étienne de Silhouette's (France's finance minister under Louis XV) hobby of making cut-paper shadow portraits. Merriam-Webster Was there a single word or two-...
Bob516's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What does "he passed whole nights in new modelling his work" mean?

In a 1789 English translation of Frederick II 's eulogy on Voltaire it is written: He passed whole nights in new modelling his work What does the "in new" part mean? (Also, if anyone has ...
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How would I go about saying a character is on the run from the cops in the 1760s?

I'm writing a short story set in 1767 and I don't feel like 'on the run from the cops' makes sense in that period. I know cops existed back then, the words just don't sit right with me in that ...
ruby's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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Eighteenth-century pronounciation of "wax"

In "Against Idleness and Mischief"(1715) ("How doth the little busy bee"), Isaac Watts rhymes "wax" and "makes". Were these two words pronounced the same at the ...
Tevildo's user avatar
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Derivation or historical existence of the phrase: "I will do my possible."

I've been reading Georgette Heyer again and find this sentence coming up: "I will do my possible." The Reluctant Widow Chapter 17 “Perhaps. I shall do my possible. You have been troubled ...
Rivah's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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Publick or Public? in the 18th and 19th Century Britain

The spelling of -ck was more popular than -c in many words in Britain. But in America, Noah Webster proposed around 1800 to replace -ck by -c, which caused the widespread of this -c spelling in US. In ...
samhana's user avatar
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What is this swastika-looking symbol in John Hancock's family papers from circa 1762? [closed]

I was looking at the "From The Page" software and tried to transcribe a section of the Hancock family papers, and on Page 137 (seq. 139) the author used what seems to be swastikas to ...
Gabriel Fair's user avatar
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Why wasn't it phony, overblown to close with "most obedient servant"?

I'm aware of this answer: Today, "Your obedient servant" may sound extravagant and highly ornamental; but in the second half of the eighteenth century, when it first became popular, it must ...
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4 votes
5 answers
3k views

18th Century British-English - "Know not" vs "Don't know"

I'm trying to write some dialogue for a character who lives in 18th century England. I want the dialogue to sound as accurate as possible, but I'm not sure what the proper phrasing should be. I ...
mille271's user avatar
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What's the difference between "conjoined" and "connected"?

In "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding", Hume says1: All events seem entirely loose and separate. One event follows another; but we never can observe any tie between them. They seem ...
TomM's user avatar
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What is the meaning of this long line in this sentense?

I am reading "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen and encountered a strange dash in this sentence: "The officers of the ---- shire were in general [...]" ---- is a long line and not four single dashes....
Burkhard's user avatar
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Why was the subject and verb inverted in a declarative sentence?

Preface: I ask only about the syntax and not semantics; I comprehend the meaning behind the following quote (for a paraphrase in 20C English; see p 27 of 35), but I am inexperienced with Early Modern ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How to dissect/parse 'nave in so many places wilfully corrupted the scripture' ? (1786 UK)

Source: p 175, The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments ..., by Richard Challoner, 1786 But as for those that have vowed a chastity, they must make use of other means to prevent this ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Should this relative clause, headed by 'where', be joined to the main clause? (1786 UK)

Source: p 174, The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments ..., by Richard Challoner, 1786 Q. But does not Christ say, concerning continency, St. Matt. xix. 11, 'All men cannot receive this ...
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1 answer
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Grammaticality: 'gift ... will not be denied him' (1786 UK)

Source: p 174, The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments ..., by Richard Challoner, 1786 A. Continency is not required of all, but such as have by vow engaged to keep it: and ...
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60 votes
6 answers
61k views

What were the rules for capitalising nouns in the 17th and 18th centuries?

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in English-language sources to capitalise the first letters of nouns, as in At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
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