Questions tagged [seventeenth-century-english]

For questions about English in the 17th century (1601 to 1700)

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Conjugation in Early Modern English for "Their"

I am writing a script set in England 1608 17th century. I am having trouble conjugating. "Their desesperation maketh them a threat?" I though this sentence was well conjugated at first, but ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
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"Ill" word meaning in 17th century 1608

I'm writing a script set in 1608 in British English from the 17th century. I want to know the exact meaning that the word "ill" had at that time? We appear just as ill. (We look just as ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
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60 views

Perchance and Mayhap

I'm writing a screenplay set in England 17th century 1608. Which was more common "Mayhap" or "Perchance". The meaning is "maybe". Ex: Perchance/Mayhap we will live a long ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
75 views

"Hence" Multiple usages in Old English

I´m writing a script using 1608 17th century british english language. I would like to know if the meaning of hence can be used as follows. Hence, he needeth me. (For this reason, he needs me.) Get ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
73 views

Suffix -eth in 17th century

I am writing a screenplay set in England during the year 1608. I would like to know if I am using the -eth ending correctly. According to some sources this ending was only used with -t or -d endings, ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
-2 votes
4 answers
134 views

"Lamb" Use in Early British Modern English 17th-century 1608

I am writing a screenplay set in England in the year 1608. In one sentence I used the word lamb (a young sheep), but according to what I've seen on the internet this term is more of a modern English. ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Was "coven" used as a term for a group of witches in 1608 or was another term in use?

I am writing a screenplay set in England in the year 1608. In one sentence I used the word coven (a group of witches), but according to Etymonline this word started to be used from 1660, or 52 years ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
61 views

"Kin" Use In Early British Modern English 17th century 1608 [duplicate]

I am writing a screenplay set in England in the 17th century during the year 1608. I need to know if the use of "kin" (a family) is appropriate in this context. I know that this word did ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
167 views

What's the difference in usage between "to" and "unto" in 17th century English?

I am writing a script in which all the characters speak early Modern English. I have learned a bit about Old English, but I am not an expert so I am also consulting multiple artificial intelligences, ...
Dylan Lozano's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
376 views

What was the meaning of oʳ (o with superscript r) in 17th century?

What was the meaning of or in Isaac Newton's time? I am reading "Newton and the Counterfeiter" by Thomas Levenson. It contains quotes from Newton's lesser known alchemical notes. An example ...
JacekM's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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Etymology and Elizabethan English connotations of "sat at meat" (Mark 2:15, KJV)

I came across a King James (1611) translation of Mark 2:15: And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Was there a word for cleavage, decolleté, or decolletage in the 17th century?

I'm particularly interested in finding a word used in the 17th century that was more specific than bosom. I could find no use of cleavage before the 20th century or decolleté before 1778. Interested ...
Bob516's user avatar
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1 answer
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"Will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month" - what does this "stand to" mean?

In Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 4, Mercutio departs with Benvolio, leaving Romeo to speak with Juliet's nurse, whom Mercutio has mocked and insulted. Nurse asks Romeo who this rude and raucous fellow ...
Zanna's user avatar
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1 answer
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Reading of Swift's On Poetry correctly

Jonathan Swift wrote once that So, naturalists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite 'em; And so proceed ad infinitum. You can see that to bite '...
user58697's user avatar
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0 answers
658 views

Meaning of "sick-fit"

I recently came across with a religious text of the english Puritan theologian Edward Polhill (1622-1694). Here is a passage from it: "Satan may hold up his pardoned sins, as it were in their ...
David Sousa's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
202 views

Was it common in Shakespeare's time for adverbial phrases and objects to precede the verb in spoken English?

I'm trying to come up with a list of differences between Shakespeare's manner of writing and modern English, and one of the big differences I've noticed is that Shakespeare often seems to put ...
Nathan Wailes's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
216 views

"An" in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew

In Act 1, Scene 1, Katherine says to Bianca, A pretty peat! It is best / Put finger in the eye, an she knew why". I understand "Put finger in the eye" means she is fake crying for ...
CuriousCat's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
100 views

Defining lapidarical

In this study of The Great Chain of Being, Diamonds among other various gems are classified as a lapidarical primate. The Oxford Dictionary does not include lapidarical or even it's root word, lapid. ...
Richie Bendall's user avatar
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0 answers
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Shakespeare's dubious rhymes [duplicate]

Background I'm reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, and a lot of the dialogues and monologues are rhymes. But some times, these rhymes aren't rhymes at all. For instance So should the murder'd look, ...
Alec's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
488 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 ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

What is the most vulgar word one could use when describing "LIFE" and a phrase for an "ALL-HATING GOD"

I am writing a play and have reached the conclusion where the main character utters a soliloquy of just how "despicably stupid" the concept of "living" and reaching the heights of &...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
1k 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, ...
Tom O' Bedlam's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why are some of the words capitalized even though they do not refer to God or something Godly?

I am fairly new to poetry and I understand from the Bible that something related to God/God is usually capitalized. Why is it that in the Milton's poem, When I consider how my light is spent, the ...
Daniel_V's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
2k views

Difference between 'willst' and 'wilt' in 'Shakespearean' English?

I am writing a scene from Macbeth detailing the battle before the play for my 11th-grade English class, and I decided to write it in Shakespearean for fun. I have been trying to figure out the ...
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why is ‘Earth’ often spelt with a lowercase e, even when referring to the planet?

The word earth has several meanings; the most central one is ‘soil, dirt’, that thing we walk on when we’re outside. It’s also used as a name for the planet we live on. The Lexico definition for this ...
les's user avatar
  • 71
4 votes
1 answer
715 views

Why do some early modern English writers use an apostrophe in art (ar't)?

For example, in Verses upon the duke of Buckinghams returne from the Ile of Rees (https://www.english.cam.ac.uk/ceres/ehoc/lessons/lesson1/index.html) the poet spells "art" as "ar't" in the phrase "...
D Mac's user avatar
  • 672
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is an "asse" in Elizabethan English?

In the "New Yer's Guiftes giuen to The Quene's Maiestie" we find two handkerchives of Hollande, wroughte with blacke worke, and edged with a smale bone lace of golde and siluer; and an asse of ...
n. m. could be an AI's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
829 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 ...
QMord's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
231 views

The meaning of the dance title "All In a Garden Green"

There is a 17th century English dance/tune named "All in a Garden Green" (first published in John Playford's The English Dancing Master in 1651). What is the most probable exact meaning of the title? ...
Sergey Lutskovsky's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
93 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
538 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
3k views

"For who so firm that cannot be seduced?" Where is the verb in this Shakespeare quotation?

He says: ... Therefore it is meet That noble minds keep ever with their likes, For who so firm that cannot be seduced? (Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2) Roughly means that you shouldn't pal ...
Færd's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
80 views

'agree a number ... to one mischief' (1655 UK) [closed]

Source: Paragraph 2, Chapter XX, De Corpore Politico, 1655, by Thomas Hobbes For multitude, though in their persons they run together, yet they concur not always in their designs. For even at that ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

Does 'whose workmanship they are' violate parallelism? (1690 UK)

Source: Sec 6, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, 1690, by John Locke ...for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, ...
user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
194 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
72 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 ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is a 17th-century affectionate term for "Mother"?

I'm writing a ghost story, and (in an admittedly well-worn trope) a child ghost is looking for its mother; however, how would a 17th-century child affectionately refer to its mother? In short, what ...
SinisterBeard's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are English language books translated to contemporary English? [closed]

Were Shakespeare books translated to contemporary English? Which version is more common? Is there a rule to choose which books will have its language updated? Are poems updated too? From which year I ...
Jader Dias's user avatar
58 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 ...
gpr's user avatar
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