Questions tagged [archaic-language]

For questions about old words and phrases which are usually no longer used in spoken or written language. They are still found sometimes in English which is supposed to sound old-fashioned. This includes both archaic vocabulary (damsel and yon) and archaic grammar (Be not afraid!).

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6
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2answers
321 views

Help parsing excerpt from Shakespeare's comedy “Love's Labour's Lost”

I have begun trying to read Shakespeare. My problem is I can't understand the writing at all. Why is Shakespeare so hard to understand? I hope that I am not the only one that finds it hard to read. ...
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1answer
109 views

Declines Vs Declineth

Declines Vs Declineth Somewhere I read that "decline" is just third person , but "declineth" is indicative . Could you help me explain the difference of indicative with some examples so that I ...
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1answer
817 views

appear + noun vs appear as + noun

Are they both right? What are the similarities and differences? Also, what's this phenomenon called? I exemplify with design as the noun, but please feel free to cite better examples. Source: p 116, ...
4
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1answer
308 views

Is “Whore” archaic in Australian English?

Is the term "Whore", either to mean someone who is promiscuous, or someone who is a sex worker, archaic in Australian English? When I see the word "Whore", I tend to think of Shakespeare (along with ...
1
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1answer
50 views

an eternal verity “which, attending,” has planted

Forth from the age-yellowed pages (of the book) there leapt an eternal verity; which, attending, has planted new seeds of wisdom in the soil of my mind. (an internal meditation on the Holy Bible 1890)
2
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2answers
167 views

Is this combination “which nor” correct? [closed]

I found the following in a poem by Matthew Prior (1664-1721): In every act and turn of life he feels Public calamities, or household ills : The due reward to just desert refus'd : The trust ...
1
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1answer
97 views

“There need none. . .” in modern usage

There need none to be blamed. Source: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Act 5, Scene 1) Is this still possible in modern English? For example: “There dared none to protest against him.” Is this a version ...
4
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2answers
580 views

What does “a thrum of my love” mean in this poem?

Dost thou me hate? Speak but so!/ Your sweet speech shall mine ears coax/ into a sweet slumber./Better to sleep than else in this plight./ At least as a thrum of thy love, I shall cling to thee./ (...
3
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2answers
99 views

What have we done that you should be so angry with us? - “that” clause of result?

Can "that" introduce an adverbial clause of result? Do the following sentences sound natural to you? 1a: What have we done that you should be so angry with us? 1b: “Are you starving that you must ...
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1answer
155 views

Use of whereinsoever

Searching for the definition of wherein, i found the word whereinsoever. I have however not found any clear definition and example of its use, could someome explain it to me ?
2
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1answer
96 views

Is this indirect object an archaic phrasing?

The housekeeper packed them up a provision of bread — From The Odyssey In modern English, I think it would be "packed up a provision of ....for them." Is this an archaism?
2
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1answer
71 views

What is this variant of remember doing?

I remember to have heard that your mother has many suitors Source "My friend," said Nestor, "now that you remind me, I remember to have heard that your mother has many suitors, who are ill ...
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2answers
97 views

Are these expressions still relevant?

Are the following expressions in bold still relevant? "made good spare of" But then againe ther arose Strong and Great Windes from the South, with a Point East ; which carried us up, (for all that ...
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1answer
589 views

What does “afeard” mean? [closed]

Too much afeard to die Would you tell me what this archaic phrase means?
4
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2answers
864 views

When once you have tasted flight

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. (Leonardo da Vinci) Should "When" ...
4
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1answer
221 views

Is the clause “it's past doubt” archaic?

From another version of this book I know the clause in boldface can be reworded as "It's certain". I searched the phase "past doubt" in Google but few related results were returned....
4
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2answers
5k views

He IS come - John 16:8

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment -John 16:8-18 (King James Version) I could not understand the use of is in this. Also, I have observed ...
3
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1answer
187 views

'It were far worse' - why 'were' instead of 'was'?

"Thou must dwell no longer with this man," said Hester, slowly and firmly. "Thy heart must be no longer under his evil eye!" "It were far worse than death!" replied the minister. "But how to ...
5
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3answers
537 views

Meaning of “rape” in “Rape of Nanking”

Someone used "the rape in Nanking" rather than "the rape of Nanking", and I want to explain why it's the latter, but I don't fully understand the phrase myself! What was the meaning of the word "rape"...
0
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2answers
717 views

What does the phrase “An anchor's cheer…” mean?

I found this line in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope, What does “anchor’s cheer” mean? How can an anchor be cheerful? Is “cheer” some part of an anchor? And ...
4
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1answer
749 views

What does 'scape mean in this quote by Shakespeare?

I found this line in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. And 'scape detecting, I will pay the theft. What does "'scape" mean? Google says this. A long, leafless flower stalk coming directly from ...
5
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1answer
9k views

What does “do't” mean?

I found this line in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine? What does "do't" mean? Google returneth only "don't". Is "do't" an alternative spelling of "don't"? ...
6
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3answers
8k views

Why is there a hyphen in ‘to-night’?

How are you to-night, Helen? Have you coughed much to-day? —Jane Eyre Why does Jane Eyre have a hyphen in to-night? Does it signify that the pronunciation in Emily Brontë’s day was [tunáit], not [...
11
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1answer
1k views

Are archaic third person singular forms of verbs useful to English learners?

I just noticed a song of P.J.Harvey: "The Words That Maketh Murder". "Maketh" seemed very interesting; so I've searched for it, and found this Wikipedia entry. Maketh: (archaic) Third-person ...
4
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2answers
3k views

How obscure is “yet” in place of “but”?

I've seen "yet" used in place of "but" like: He was bulky, yet devilishly quick. You buy yourself golden earrings, yet you cannot afford medicine for your mother! I'm fairly sure ...
12
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4answers
2k views

Why do some sentences have “thy” instead of “the”?

I saw many times thy used instead of the, so why is that? When should I use it? What is the pronunciation of thy? From the Bible (Christianity.SE) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy ...
12
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2answers
8k views

Verbs ending in -th

Sometimes especially when I am reading books or quotes, I encounter verbs ending in -th. Is that an arcaic form? How should I properly translate them?

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