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Truffle, an underground edible fungus ; from Italian tartufola; tar
being=Lat. terrce, of the ground, and tufóla=tuber, a root. Trifle
is a doublet of truffle. Twig, a thin branch of a tree. The tw here is the base of two, and is
found also in twin, twilight, twice, twine; and probably also in tweak, twist, twinkle, etc. (Twit is not in this class; it comes from at
witan, to throw blame on.) Verdigris (not connected with grease), the rust of brass or copper. From
Lat. viride aeris, the green of brass. (The g is intrusive, and has not
yet been accounted for.) Walrus, a kind of large seal ; from Swedish vallross = a whale-horse.
The older form of ross is found in Icelandic as hross, which is a doub. let of the A. S. hors. The noise made by the animal somewhat
resembles a neigh. Wassail, a merry carouse ; from A. S. wes haél = Be well ! Wes is the
imperative of wesan to be (still existing in was); and hael is connected
with hail! hale (Scand.), whole (Eng.), and health. Whole, a misspelling, now never to be corrected, of hole, the adjective
connected with hale, heal, health, healthy, etc. The w is probably an intrusion from the S.-W. of England, where they say whoam for home, woat for oat, etc. If we write whole, we ought also to write wholy instead of holy.
WORDS THAT HAVE GREATLY CHANGED
Abandon, to proclaim openly; to de. till. (Compound neighbour.) In South
nounce; then to cast out. (From Low Africa, a farmer is still called a boer. Lat. bannus, an edict.) The earlier meaning still survives in the phrase,
Brat (a contemptuous name for a child), “ banns of marriage."
a Celtic word meaning rag. In Wales
it now means a pinafore. Admire, to wonder at.
Brave, showy, splendid. Allow, to praise (connected with laud).
By-and-by, at once. Amuse, to cause to muse, to occupy the Carpet, the covering of tables as well as
mind of. “Camillus set upon the Gauls, of floors. when they were amused in receiving their gold,” says a writer of the sixteenth Carriage (that which carries) meant forcentury.
merly that which was carried, or bag
gage. See Acts xxi. 15. Animosity, high spirits; from Lat. oni
Cattle, a doublet of chattels, property.
Lat. capitalia, heads (of oxen, etc.) Artillery (great weapons of war), was used
The avaricious man hath to include bows, crossbows, etc., down
more hope in his catel than in Christ.” to the time of Milton. See P. L. ii. 715; and 1 Sam. xx. 40.
Censure (blame) meant merely opinion;
from the Lat. censeo, I think. ShakeAwkward, going the wrong way. From speare, in Hamlet i. 3. 69, makes PolonM. E. awk, contrary. "The awk end ius
“ Take each man's censure, but was the wrong end. " With awkward
reserve thy judgment.” wind"=with contrary wind.
Charity (almsgiving) meant love; from Babe, doll. Spenser says of a pedlar Lat. carus, dear, through the French.
"He bore a truss of trifles at his back, As bells, and babes, and glasses in his
Cheat (to deceive for the purpose of gain) pack."
meant to seize upon a thing as escheated
or forfeited. Blackguard, the band of lowest kitchen
Cheer, face. “Be of good cheer"="Put servants, who had to look after the spits,
a good face upon it.” “ His cheer fell” pots, and pans, etc.
=“His countenance fell." Bombast (an inflated and pompous style of speaking or writing), cotton-wadding.
Churl (an uncourteous or disobliging per
son) meant a countryman. Der. churBoor (a rough unmannerly fellow), a tiller lish. (Shakespeare also uses the word
of the soil; from the Dutch boawen, to in the sense of a miser.)
Clumsy, stiff with cold. “When thou An older form is Assay. Shakespeare has
clomsest with cold,” says Langland (141h such phrases as “the assay of arms." century) = art benumbed. (Cognates, clamp, cramp.)
Explode, to drive out by clapping of the
hands. The opposite of applaud. Lat. Companion, low fellow. Shakespeare has plaudo, 1 clap my hands. such phrases as “ Companions, hence !"
Explosion, a hissing a thing off the stage. Conceit (too high an opinion of one's self) meant simply thought. Chaucer was
Firmament, that which makes firm or called "a conceited clerk "="a learned
strong. Jeremy Taylor (seventeenth man full of thoughts.” From Lat. con
“ Custom is the firmacentury) says,
ment of the law." ceptus, a number of facts brought to. gether into one general conception or Fond, foolish. The past participle of idea. Shakespeare has the phrase "pass A. S. fonnan, to act foolishly. ing all conceit”= beyond all thought.
Frightful, full of fear. (Compare the old Count (to number) meant to think (2
meaning of dreadful.) with 3, &c.) with ; from Lat. compŭto, I compute or think with. Count is a
Garble, to sift or cleanse. Low Lat. doublet, through French, of compute.
garbellare, to sift corn. Cunning, able or skilled. Like the word Garland, a king's crown; now a wreath of
flowers. craft, it has lost its innocent sense.
Gazette (Italian), a magpie. Hence the Danger, jurisdiction, legal power over.
Ital. gazettare, to chatter like a magpie; The Duke of Venice says to the Mer
to write tittle-tattle. (It was also the chant, “You stand within his danger,
name of a very small coin, current in do you not ?" M. V. iv, 1. 180.
Venice, etc.) Defy, to pronounce all bonds of faith
Generous, high-born. Lat. genus, race. dissolved. Lat. fides, faith.
Compare the phrases“ a man of family;' Delicious, too scrupulons or finical. A a man of rank.” Shakespeare has "the
writer of the seventeenth century says generous citizens" for those of high that idleness makes even “the sober
birth. est (most moderate) men delicious.”
Gossip, sib or related in God; a godfather Depart, part or divide. The older version or godmother. It now means such perof the Prayer-Book has “till death us
sonal talk as usually goes on among such depart” (now corrupted into do part). persons. (Compare the French commère
and commèrage.) Disaster, an unfavourable star. A term from the old astrology.
Handsome, clever with the hands. Disease, discomfort, trouble. Shakespeare Harbinger, a person who prepared a har
bour or lodging. has, “She will disease our bitter mirth ;” and Tyndale's version of Mark v. 35, is, Heathen, a person who lives on a heath. “Thy daughter is dead: why diseasest
(Cf. pagan, person who lives in a pagus, thou the Master any further?”
or country district.) Duke, leader. Hannibal was called in old Hobby, an easy ambling nag. English writers, “Duke of Carthage.”
Idiot (Gr. idiòtes), a private person; a Ebb, shallow. “Cross the stream where
person who kept aloof from public busiit is ebbest,” is a Lancashire proverb.
ness. Cf. idiom ; idiosyncrasy; etc. (The word is a cognate of even.)
Imp, an engrafted shoot.
Chaucer says: Essay, an attempt. The old title of such “Of feeble trees there comen wretched
a book was not “Essay on" but “Essay impes."
Impertinent, not pertaining to the Offal, that which is allowed to fall off. matter in hand.
Officious, obliging. In modern diplomacy, Indifferent, impartial. “God is indiffer
an official communication is one made ent to all."
in the way of business; an officious comInsolent, unusual. An old writer praises
munication is a friendly and irregular Raleigh's poetry as “insolent and pas
one. Burke, in the eighteenth century, sionate."
speaks of the French nobility as “very
officious and hospitable." Kind, born, inborn; natural ; and then loving.
Ostler= hosteller. The keeper of a hostel
or hotel. (A comic derivation is that it Knave, boy. “A knave child "=a male is a contraction of oatstealer).
child. Sir John Mandeville speaks of Mahomet as “a poure knave.”
Painful, painstaking. Fuller, in the sevenLace, a snare. Lat. laqueus, a noose.
teenth century, speaks of Joseph as “a
painful carpenter." Livery, that which is given or delivered, Palliate, to throw a cloak over. Lat. palFr. livrer; from Lat. liberare, to free.
lium, a cloak. It was applied both to food and to clothing. "A horse at livery" still means Pencil, a small hair brush. Lat. penecillus,
a horse not merely kept, but also fed. a little tail. Magnificent, doing great things; large- Peevish, obstinate. minded. Bacon says, Bounty and
Perspective, a glass for seeing either near magnificence are virtues very regal."
or distant things. Maker, a poet.
Pester, to encumber or clog. From Low Manure, to work with the hand; a doublet Lat. pastorium, a clog for horses in a
of manouvre. (Lat. manus, the hand.) pasture. Mere, utter. Lat. merus, pure. Shakespeare, Plantation, a colony of men planted.
in “Othello," speaks of "the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet." Mere
Plausible, having obtained applause. wine" was unmixed wine.
“Every one received him plausibly,"
says a seventeenth-century writer. Metal, a mine.
Polite, polished. A seventeenth-century Minute, something very small. Lat. min
writer has “polite bodies as lookingutus, made small; from minus, less.
glasses." Cognates, minor; minish; diminish; etc.
Pomp, a procession. Miscreant, an unbeliever. Lat. mis (from
minus), and credo, I believe; through Preposterous, putting the last first. Lat. 0. Fr. mescréant.
præ, before; and post, after. Miser, a wretched person. Lat. miser, mis- Prevaricate, to reverse, to shuffle. Lat. erable.
prævaricari, to spread the legs apart Nephew, a grandchild. (Lat. nepos.)
in walking Nice, too scrupulous or fastidious. Shake- Prevent, to go before. Lat. pr«, before,
speare, in “K. John," iii. 4. 138, says and venio, I come. The Prayer-Book has, “He that stands upon a slippery place,
“Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings." Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him
Prodigious, ominous. “A prodigious up."
meteor," meant a meteor of bad omen. Niece, a grandchild. Lat. neptis.
Punctual, attending to small points of Novelist, an innovator.
detail. Lat. punctum ; Fr. point.
Quaint, skilful. Prospero, in the "Tem- | Tarpaulin, a sailor; from the tarred pest,” calls Ariel "My quaint Ariel !” canvas suit he wore. Now shortened
into tar. Racy, having the strong and native qual.
ities of the race. Cowley says of a poet Thews, habits, manners. that he is " Fraught with brisk racy verses, in Thought, deep sorrow, anxiety. Matthew which we
vi. 25. In “Julius Cæsar,” ii. 1. 187, we The soil from whence they come, taste,
find, “Take thought, and die for Cæsar." smell, and see.”
Trivial, very common. Lát. trivia, a Reduce, to lead back.
place where three roads meet. Resent, to be fully sensible of. Resent- Tuition, guardianship. Lat. tuitio, lookment, grateful recognition of.
ing at. Restive, obstinate, inclined to rest or Uncouth, unknown.
stand still. “To turn rusty"(=resty) is to turn obstinate.
Union, oneness; or a pearl in which size,
roundness, smoothness, purity, lustre, Retaliate, to give back benefits as well as were united. See “Hamlet," v. 2. 283. injuries.
A doublet is onion-so called from its
shape. Room, space, place at table. Luke xiv. 8.
Unkind, unnatural. Rummage, to make room.
Urbane, living in a city. Lat. urbs, a Sad, earnest.
city. Sash, a turban.
Usury, money paid for the use of a thing. Secure, free from care. Ben Jonson says:
Varlet, a serving-man. Low Lat. vassa“Men may securely sin; but safely,
lettus, a minor vassal. Varlet and valet
are diminutives of vassal. Sheen, bright, pure. Connected with shine.
Vermin was applied to noxious animals
of whatever size. "The crocodile is Shrow, a wicked or hurtful person.
a dangerous vermin."
Lat. vermis, a Silly, blessed. Sincerity, absence of foreign admixture. Villain, a farm-servant. Lat. villa, a farm. Soft, sweetly reasonable.
Vivacity, pertinacity in living; longevity.
Fuller speaks of a man as “most remarkSpices, kinds—a doublet of species. (A
able for his vivacity, for he lived 140 grocer in French is called an épicier.)
years." Starve, to die. Chancer says, “Jesus Wit, knowledge, mental ability. starved upon the cross."
Worm, a serpent. Sycophant, “a fig-shower” or informer
against a person who smuggled figs. Gr. Worship, to consider worth, to honour. sukon, a fig; and phaino, I show.
Wretched, wicked. A. 8 wrecca, an outTable, a picture.