August 2020 ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Monday, 31 August 2020

Language : Definitions, Types, Functions, Approaches, Characteristics

Language : Definitions, Types, Functions, Approaches, Characteristics

What is Language?

Introduction to Language

Broadly speaking, language is a means of communication. It is through this means that the interaction between human beings takes place. Without language, says H.L. Smith, “there could be no culture, and man remained hominoid, with language and culture he became hominine.

The gift of speech and a well-ordered language are characteristic of mankind and are the symbol and token of the boundary between man and a brute. For cultural propagation, man is privileged. Of all creatures on earth, he alone can talk and express himself through language.

"Man is a social animal,” remarked Aristotle long ago, and he is 'a social animal' by virtue of language. Society cannot exist without language any more than language can without society. Society and language are thus correlated. Language is, in fact, the index of the progress of a society from its primitive stage to an advanced one.

There are, however, other means of expressing our mind to others. Gesture (using certain signs and symbols) is one of these means. Thus we nod our heads instead of saying "yes", ladies express their feigned disapproval with a slight twist of their lips and nose. The deaf and dumb communicate with the world outside only by the help of gestures. The gestures are universal, because the same gestures are for the most part understood in the same sense among all the manifold races of men. Though gesture supplements language but it is not a language in the true sense.

Again, all sounds are not language. The chirping of birds, the howling of dogs, the meaningless utterances of the jugglers are not language. Only that system of sounds which convey the meaning intended by the speakers to the hearers is language in the true sense of the term.

Definitions of Language by Linguists

Language as stated by Chomsky is “a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements” (Chomsky 1957:13).

Language has been nicely defined by Edward Sapir as "a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols.”

To a linguist, it is ‘the means of expression of human thought.'

Trench calls it 'fossil poetry or history’.  

Henry Sweet considers it as ‘the expression of thought by means of speech sounds'.

Tylor thinks of it in terms of ‘outward manifestations of inward workings of the mind'.

Sayce equates it with 'significant sound, the outward embodiment and expression, however imperfect, of thought'.

Malinowski takes it as ‘the necessary means of communication.... without which social action is impossible'.

A.S.Diamond characterizes it as ‘the embodiment of all the advances in thought of all our human ancestors—a diary of their day-to-day thoughts'.

And lastly, M. Schlauch regards it as 'a fundamental means of preserving, transmuting and continuously enriching the achievements of human culture.'

To study language, therefore, we must bear in mind a few important facts. The first is that language and culture are closely knitted and that it is a social product. The second is that it has no independent physical entity of its own, but consists merely of several types of sounds mutually exchanged by man living in a community. The third is that it is forever changing and dynamic.

Types of Language

There are three types of language. They are: (1) monosyllabic or isolating, (2) agglutinative, and (3) inflectional or polysyllabic.

The first kind of language has no prefixes or suffixes and no formally distinguished parts of speech. Chinese is its glaring example. In this language the same word may, without change, be used as a noun, as a verb, as an adjective, or as an adverb.

In the second kind of language, ideas are expressed by glueing words into compounds which are often cumbersome and lengthy. Each such compounded word has the force of a sentence, e.g. 'Achichillacachocam', which means the place where people weep because the water is red. Finish, Turkish and Hungarian and some most savage tongues usually contain such words.

The third kind of language has such roots as are generally modified by prefixes and suffixes. The variation of form which words undergo in order to adapt themselves to different relations is known as 'inflection'. To this class belong Greek, Latin, German and English.

Functions of Language

“It is difficult to see adequately”, says E. Sapir, "the functions of language, because it is so deeply rooted in the whole of human behaviour that it may be suspected that there is little in the functional side of our conscious behaviour in which language does not play its part.”

The primary function of language is, as we have seen before, communication. Language is also a great force of socialization. A group of people is held together by the ties of common language.

The next function is the imparting of information of one or the other kind. Information includes propaganda of all kinds and even deliberate misinformation. It is said that language is mostly informative in character. All sciences are so because they unfold the truths to us.

Language has the function of cultural accumulation and historical transmission. Proverbs, medicine formulae, standardized prayers, folk tales, standardized speeches, song texts, genealogies are some of the more overt forms which language takes as a culture preserving instrument.

Language is also the most potent indicator of personality. The personality of a man is revealed in the character and range of the vocabulary, the length and build of the sentences, the fundamental quality of his voice, the phonetic patterns of his speech and the speed and slowness of articulation.

Approaches to Language

There are different approaches to language. But there are two approaches which are fruitful, and they are known as 1) diachronic and 2) synchronic. Diachronic approach is concerned with the historical development of a language: synchronic with the state of a language at a given time.

The approach to language in the 19th century was mainly diachronic, where today synchronic study is attracting an increasing amount of attention. The reason why the synchronic study is now preferred to the diachronic is the in recent years more attention has been paid to the languages of whose history little or nothing is known. Languages like Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, German and English provide ample historical material to a serious student.

Both these approaches are necessary. Just as the history of a language explains many of the puzzling features of a language, so also by observing the linguistic habits of living people, we can have a better idea of the true nature of linguistic change.

Another recent approach to the study of language has sought to divide it into `indicative' and 'emotive'. Indicative approach assumes that it seeks to arouse feeling or suggest an emotional attitude . “Emotive' language is often held to have no real meaning as an expression of truth. The following lines from Shelley's Adonais (Stanza LII):
"Life, like adome of many -coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity"
are held to have no meaning except for their emotional suggestion.

Characteristics of English Language

The English language is spoken or read today by the largest number of people in the world for historical, political and economic reasons. But it owes something of its wide appeal to its inherent qualities and characteristics too. Now, let us take into account its salient features that give it distinct individuality and world-wide significance.

The first and foremost feature of the English language is its extraordinary receptive and adaptable heterogeneousness the varied ease and readiness with which it has accepted material from almost everywhere in the world and has digested it. In the initial stages, English was almost a 'pure' or unmixed language, but in due course of time it became the most 'mixed' of languages, having received all kinds of foreign elements with ease throughout its history. This has made its vocabulary very copious and heterogeneous. Even a cursory glance at The Oxford English Dictionary would convince the reader. This voluminous dictionary occupies 15,487 pages and treats 240,165 main words. The amazing variety of the English language is really striking. Its general receptiveness of fresh elements has made it the most suitable and appealing medium of expression in the world of today.

A second salient feature of the English language is its simplicity of inflection. It has the capability of showing the relationship of words in a sentence with great ease. No doubt, Chinese has surpassed this language in the matter of reducing inflections to the bare minimum, but among European languages it remains matchless in this matter. Need we remind the reader of the fact that Old English was highly inflected? The loss of inflections by reduction has led to the natural consequence of finding new ways to show the relationship of words.

One such way is to have a relatively fixed word-order. And this is a third distinctive feature of English. An inflected language like Latin or Russian can afford to be fairly free in the arrangement of words, since the inflections clearly indicate the relationship in the sentence without any ambiguity. But in a language like English which is not inflected, the order of words is likely to be relatively fixed. The fixed word-order takes the place of the immense freedom enjoyed by inflected languages. This sort of freedom is not allowed in English. Perhaps one or two examples can best illustrate it. Take a sentence like this: 'I live in a lady's apartment with attached bath-room'. The word-order of this sentence can hardly be changed to: 'I live in an apartment with a lady attached to the bath-room.' If it is changed, the result would be ludicrous. Similarly, one can hardly replace a sentence like 'She is my wife's sister' by 'She is my sister's wife'. That's why we say that English has a fixed word-order.

Another feature of English related to the third is the growth of the use of periphrases or roundabout ways of saying things, and of the use of prepositions in place of the lost inflections. The English simplified verb uses, periphrases and compound tenses made with auxiliary verbs to replace the more elaborate system of tenses that once existed. Similarly, English has come to use prepositions instead of case-endings.

A fifth distinctive feature of English is the growth of new varieties of intonation to express shades of meaning which were previously expressed by varying the shapes of words. This feature is also to be witnessed in Chinese, but not in Hindustani. The wonderful variety of shades of meaning may be seen in the use of the word 'do', merely by varying the intonation that is, the pitch and intensity, the tone of the voice.

A sixth and last feature of the English language is its masculinity. It was Otto Jespersen who characterized it as "masculine” English is the language of a grown-up man and has very little childish or feminine about it. When Jespersen called it masculine', he had in mind its phonetical grammatical and lexical considerations. Words and turns of expression prove its masculinity. As its vocabulary abounds in consonants, English gives the impression of being energetic and forceful. Most of its long vowels have been diphthongized, as 'ale', 'whole', 'eel', etc. Even the spoken words carry male energy with them. English words are best suited for military commands.

Jespersen has pointed out some other qualities of English, but they are all linked up with its masculinity. As this matter is of great importance for a student of philology, it would be desirable to dwell on these qualities at some length.

One of the qualities of the English language is its business-like shortness or brevity of expression. This quality is partly responsible for the end of superfluities in grammar like inflections and unstressed endings. Monosyllabism is due to it. English prefers the use of single words to long phrases or clauses, though it loses much of grace and elegance because of this preference. For this loss, however, it gathers greater force. To say "thanks' is shorter but less elegant than 'thank you'. Brevity of expression is to be witnessed in sentences like "First come first served', 'No cure, no pay', 'No risk, no gain', and 'No work, no pay'. This kind of economy results in a calculated strength and thrust of force. The absence of the definite articles in several contexts reduces further the weakness and prolixity of the language, such as in 'Life is short', 'School is ours', 'Dinner over, he left the house', and 'heaven and earth rejoice'. These expressions remind one of the abbreviations used in telegrams. 

The above-mentioned quality goes with a certain sobriety in expression An Englishman does not want to use more words or more syllables than are Strictly necessary that is his habit. He also dislikes strong or hyperbolical expressions of approval or disapproval. "That isn't half bad' or 'She is rather good-looking' are often the highest praises one can draw out of him. And when he disapproves of a girl or lady, he says: 'She is not exactly beautiful'. On meeting someone, he simply exclaims : "Glad to see you'. This sobriety in expression, according to Jespersen, is a male trait. 

The business-like, virile qualities of the English language also manifest themselves in such things as word-order". Orderliness, especially in the arrangement and expression of ideas, is largely associated with men. Words in English do not play a hide-and-seek, as they often do in Latin or in German. English has a set of rigorous grammatical rules. In it an auxiliary verb does not stand far from its main verb, and an adjective nearly always stands before its noun (except in such cases as have a cluster of adjectives). The order generally followed in it is subject, verb, and then object. It makes use of inversions less than some other Teutonic or Scandinavian languages.

Logical consistency is another asset of the English tongue. Except for Chinese, which has been described as pure applied logic, there is perhaps no language in the civilized world that stands so high as English. The use of the tenses in it is quite logical. So is also the use of number in it. One may enjoy considerable liberty in this matter. English has given a good account of itself by shedding off grammatical gender in favour of natural gender. Gender has now become logical depending on meaning. Because of this single fact, English enjoys today what the celebrated historian, A.C. Baugh, called "an exceptional advantage over all other major European languages". Logical consistency is generally associated with men, as Jespersen seems to suggest.

This renowned philologist links conciseness and terseness with 'masculinity', and points out that women as a rule are not such economizers of speech. Having discussed the 'masculinity' of English, Jespersen comes to the conclusion : "The English language is a methodical, energetic, business-like and sober language, that does not care much for finery and elegance, but does care for logical consistency and is opposed to any attempt to narrow-in life by police regulations and strict rules either of grammar or of lexicon"

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Character Sketch of Falder in Galsworthy's "Justice" or Falder as a Tragic Hero

Character Sketch of Falder in Galsworthy's "Justice" or Falder as a Tragic Hero
Character of Falder
Though Falder is not a hero in the Aristotelian or Shakespearian sense, the entire dramatic action of Justice emanates from him, right from the first Act. Everything happens around him; he claims all our attention, sympathy and pity. He does everything and suffers not for himself, but for Ruth Honeywill. But even then we find him an unheroic hero whose tragedy is never grand and sublime, whose suffering and fall do not inspire awe. If we admire him, it is because he is victim of a social injustice which we all resent. He does not stir our deeper emotions beyond pity which is aroused by the spectacle of waste.

Falder is a young clerk of twenty-three. He is pale, good looking, but a bit timid and nervous. He is soft-spoken and nice, but rather weak and pensive. He gives us the impression of a scared youngman who is constantly haunted by something he has done in a desperate bid to save a married woman. But in spite of all this he has a heart of gold that bleeds to see others suffer. When he sees Ruth languishing in her hell, waiting only to be throttled to death by her cruel husband, he tries to assuage her agonies and gives her his sincere love which is warm enough to make the unhappy woman dream of a new, happy home with Fader. He considers his love for Ruth very precious and he does not have much qualm to forge the cheque with a view of building a happy home for Ruth.

Falder never thinks of being dishonest, he hates swindling and all his life he has learnt to preserve the integrity of his character. But when he sees no alternative to forging the cheque he sacrifices his honesty and integrity at the altar of his love for Ruth, for he considers this love more precious and above anything else. All along he has remained faithful and devoted to Ruth, not because he pities her, but because his love for her pervades his entire existence giving it both succour and meaning in an otherwise drab and dreary world. He is prepared to sacrifice his life to see her happy and he actually does it without any remorse.

In the office he is liked by all in spite of his weakness. His meekness and sincerity endear him to others, and Cokeson and the Hows do not have anything to complain about as long as he is in the office But when it is impossible for Ruth to stay with her husband, he frantically tries to get the money necessary for paying their travelling expenses to a far-away land where he dreams of giving Ruth a happy home. He is really in a daze while altering cheque, and when he realises what he has done he does not let his qualm scare him away from his pledge to Ruth. As he has promises to keep, he does not think of rest. His only thought is about Ruth, and he silently shelves his scruples. He alters the counterfoil of the cheque he has forged only to prevent detection before he leaves the country with Ruth. He knows that Davis is already beyond anybody's reach, and, so, even if the forgery is detected, no harm can touch him. But, as ne is not an adept, he is caught on the very day he has planned to leave. However, James How and Cleaver do not see this reason. The judge and the jury too find him guilty; he is found to have committed forgery deliberately, in a planned way. Hence he is sentenced to penal servitude.

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Falder, in his solitary cell, is a broken man ; the price he is made to pay is too heavy for a weak young man like him - it shatters him completely and even robs him of his faith in life. When he comes out of the prison he finds himself without a shelter and without a living. Even the doors of his own sister's home is closed before him; no employer would have him in his office. The stigma of being convicted once appears to be too large to be rubbed out. He is an outcast in his own society. But even then he does not forget his Ruth, though now he is sceptical of being of any use to her. When again they meet, Falder seems to have regained his lost hope, for Ruth is still there as helpless as ever.

Cokeson and James How help him dream again, for they agree to give him another chance. But James has one condition : he must sever his relation with Ruth and keep away from her. Falder refuses to do that, he cannot give up one for whom he has suffered so much. However, Ruth is quite agreeable to How's suggestion and tries to persuade him to reason. But Falder will not be persuaded. At last James relents and does not insist on his condition as forcefully as he does in the beginning. But the society never stops chasing Falder with a vengeance, the law never gives him the respite even though he has done nothing to malign it. He is caught in a vicious web and even James How fails to extricate him when the custodian of the legal system comes to pounce upon his prey for not reporting himself at the police station. Falder knows that it is no use struggling, for he cannot get away from justice'. Each time he tries to live, the society hurls him down the precipice and he is made to Crawl under its wheel only to get crushed in the process. So, only to flee this society, Falder jumps to his death. It is his only bold attempt to give 'justice' the slip, and it helps us see the rot.

The pathos in Falder's character moves us all to pity, but he does not emerge as a tragic hero in the true sense. There is little grandeur in his suffering; even his death leaves him pathetic. He represents the frustration of the modern man who is constantly baffled and harassed by the false values of a heartless commercial system.

Shaw's Pygmalion as a Romance or Justify the subtitle "A Romance" or Significance of Eliza-Freddy Love-story

Shaw's Pygmalion as a Romance or Justify the subtitle "A Romance" or Significance of Eliza-Freddy Love-story
Pygmalion as a Romance

Shaw, the Anti-Romantic

Bernard Shaw has called the play Pygmalion, and added a subtitle to it, "A Romance". As is well known, Shaw was an anti-romantic and in one play after another he has punctured age-old romantic notions. Thus in his Arms and the Man, he has shattered the romantic notion of love and war, and in his Man and Superman he has shown that it is the woman, and not the man, who is the courter and the chaser. It is the woman who chases her man relentlessly and ultimately marries him. Beauty and sex appeal of a woman are shown to be a trap to capture the man who is likely to make a suitable father and husband.

Anti-Romantic Elements

Thus Shaw is an anti-romantic, an iconoclast, and this is true of the present play also. No doubt the transformation of shabby dirty and cockney Speaking flower girl into a fascinating lady, fit enough to pass for a Duchess even in the garden party of an ambassador, is romantic enough, in the sense that such ‘creations’ are not usual but Pygmalion cannot be regarded as a romance, because in it the heroine Eliza, does not marry Higgins, the hero.

The transformation of Eliza is romantic enough, but the play does not have e conventional ending of a romance, for the hero and the heroine are not in love and are not happily married at the end. Rather, the heroine throws the slippers of the hero into his face, and goes out of his house in anger. Higgins interest in Eliza is merely scientific and it comes to an end as soon as he has achieved success in his experiment. He is cold and scientific and not at all a lover.

The Note of Romance

However sexual love is an essential element in a romance and this element of romance is provided by the Freddy-Eliza love-story. Freddy fall deeply in love with Eliza when he meets her at the house of Mrs. Higgins is simply fascinated by her and from that day onwards he begins to how Wimpole Street where Eliza lives in Higgins' house. Freddy keeps looking at Eliza's room every night until the lights go out, when he says: "Good night darling, darling, darling." Freddy thus becomes a love-lorn man.

Eliza-Freddy Love story: Its Significance

When one night, Eliza comes out of Higgins' house because she can no longer endure his neglect and bullying, she encounters Freddy in the street and asks him what he is doing there. Freddy replies that he spends most of his nights here in this street because it is the only place where he feels happy. He then tells her that she is the loveliest, the dearest being for him; and then, losing all self-control, he smothers her with kisses. She, hungry for comfort, responds fully to his love-making; and they stand there in the street in each other's arms till they are interrupted by a police constable.

The lovers then flee from that spot and halt at another place where again they embrace each other but are once again interrupted by another police constable. Eventually, they get into a taxi and spend the rest of the night driving about the town. Subsequently, Eliza tells Higgins that Freddy has been writing very lengthy love-letters to her and that she has decided to marry him. Now, this whole episode is romantic even though it appears only towards the end.

In the Appendix which Shaw has added to the play, he has told us that Higgins could not love and marry, because he was a scientist, and because no woman could come up to the level of his mother who was his ideal, and to whom he was deeply attached. We may say that he was the victim of “Oedipus complex” even though he lives apart from his mother. Similarly, Eliza could not love and marry Higgins because the Life Force working within her prompted her to love and marry Freddy, who is young and healthy, and so is likely to make a better father for her children. Indeed, throughout the play, there is no sexual attraction or talk of love between Eliza and Higgins.


Thus the play is not a romance in the sense that the hero and the hero fall in love and are happily married in the end. According to A.C. Ward, Pygmalion is not a romance, as it could rightly have been called if Higgins and Eliza had fallen in love and married. It is a problem play, and the goes much deeper than the bare story told in Pygmalion. Every sets out to fight ignorance is in a similar position with regard to his pupils as Higgins was with regard to Eliza. He leads them towards a new way of life and is compelled to leave them at its threshold to go on by themselves.” But the element of romance is provided by the creation of Eliza into an entirely new 'creature' and the Eliza-Freddy love-story.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

English Literature Quiz on Drama : Level 11

English Literature Quiz on Drama : Level 11
English Literature Quiz on Drama : Level 11


Monday, 24 August 2020

Online Quiz on English Literature : Level 10

Online Quiz on English Literature : Level 10
Online Quiz on English Literature : Level 10


Sunday, 23 August 2020

Operation of Fate or Role of Chance and Coincidence in Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd

Operation of Fate or Role of Chance and Coincidence in Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd

Role of Chance and Coincidence

A struggle between man and an omnipotent and sinister fate is Hardy's interpretation of the human predicament. Man in Hardy's novel is almost invariably pitted against impersonal forces which condition and maim his life. Destiny in Hardy operates in different forms - as natural forces, as chance and accidents, and serves as an instrument of frustrating human dreams and aspirations.

The rapid growth of Industrial Revolution in one hand and the destruction of agricultural life in the other, disintegration of rural framework, and loss of human dignity turn Hardy fluctuating between fatalism and determinism.  He considers life in terms of action in the doomed struggle against the circumstantial forces against happiness. In all his novels, Fate appears as an artistic motif in a great variety of forms- chance and coincidence, nature, time, woman, and convention. But none is Fate itself, but rather all of these are manifestations of an indifferent God, the Immanent Will.

It is true that Far from the Madding Crowd is less tragic and the only one of Hardy's Wessex novels which is allowed to have a happy ending'. Yet the tragic elements much outweigh the final reconciliation. Like all tragedy it leaves us face to face with the mystery of human evil and suffering. As Hardy sees it, the personal fate of the individual is largely at the mercy of impersonal forces over which he has little control, or at the mercy of minor mistakes which prove to have incalculable major consequences.

The first important occurrence of chance or accident in the novel takes place when Gabriel loses his flock of two hundred sheep. Oak was aspiring to become one day an independent and prosperous farmer. But one night his younger dog drives two hundred sheep over a hill as a result of which the sheep are all killed. Fate here plays the cruelest role to frustrate the dream of an individual.

Again it is merely by chance that Oak's quest for an employment as a bailiff or a shepherd in the Casterbridge ‘hiring fair’ becomes fruitless. It is also nothing but an accidental happening that he falls asleep in the abandoned waggon by the side of the Weatherbury road and is taken to Bathsheba's farm. The incident of fire in the farm is coincidental with Oak's arrival there. Fate thus brings Oak through a series of chance and coincidences to be employed as a shepherd under Bathsheba, whom he once proposed and was rejected by.

Fate is responsible for Bathsheba's changes in fortune as well. Here also chances and coincidences play their havoc to cause miseries to the beautiful lady. Her uncle happens to die and leave her the farm. Bathsheba happens to see Boldwood and be offended by his lack of attention just at the time of Valentine's. When he ignores her, she sends him a valentine to attract his attention. Bathsheba has already set the tragic wheels of fate in motion by her foolish encouragement of Farmer Boldwood. He takes seriously the seal, “marry me," that she adds to the card. His life becomes an obsessive pursuit of this woman he loves.

Fate now brings Sergeant Troy to Weatherbury and Bathsheba becomes infatuated with Sergeant Troy, a philanderer. She marries him, although he is already involved with Fanny. The situation is thus complicated by chance and coincidences without any knowledge of the persons concerned.

Bathsheba's life is ruined by her marriage to Troy. She resents his selfish ways his gambling, and his refusal to work on the farm. When Bathsheba learns about his affair with Fanny, it is too late. The girl and her child are already dead, and Troy deserts her. Finally when Bathsheba is ready to accept her mistake in encouraging Boldwood and marry him out of pity and duty, Troy dramatically reappears on the scene. Troy's fateful return coincides with the Christmas party offered by Boldwood in honour of Bathsheba. Appropriately, the deranged Boldwood, who is still obsessed with Bathsheba, shoots him. The death of Troy and the incarceration of Boldwood allow Bathsheba and Gabriel to finally acknowledge their love for one another. But by then Fate, through chance and coincidences, has caused much suffering to the hero and the heroine.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

141 Most Important Philological Word Notes

141 Most Important Philological Word Notes

Here is a list of few important words with their origin, etymology, history and meaning. These philological word notes will definitely help all students of English Language and Literature to enhance their knowledge as well as to prepare them for the examination.


1. ADMIRAL -Admiral, which was formerly amiral, is of Arabic origin. It is a fragment of the phrase amir-al-bahr which means "commander" of the sea.

2. ANGEL -The Old English form of the word was engel which is from Latin angelus, (Greek aggelos). It is a pre-Christian Latin loan word. The Anglo-Saxons adopted this Latin word before they migrated to Britain and long before they were converted to the Christian religion.

3. ASSASSINATION - The word is formed by adding Latin suffix-ion to the word assassinate which is, in its turn, formed by adding Latin suffix-ate to assassin. Assassin is derived from the Arabic word hashashin, the name of a fanatical sect in the East who intoxicated themselves with hashish and who, like the Thugs committed murders for the glory of their divinity, Shakespeare makes use of “assassination" only in Macbeth (1,7,2).

4. ACHE - The modern word ache (as in toothache, headache, bodyache) is a curious cross of the Middle English noun (ache) whose spelling has been kept, and the Middle English verb (aken) whose pronunciation (with k sound) has prevailed. Baret (1573) says expressly. "Ake is the verb of this substantive ache, ch being turned into k".

5. ADVICE - The Middle English form of the word was avis (avus) which was borrowed from French. The intrusion of d in advice is due to the Latin influence of the Renaissance and post-Renaissance period, because during and after the Renaissance many a French word already in English) was remodelled into closer resemblance with their Latin originals (Avys was originally derived from Latin advisum).

6. ADVENTURE - The Middle English form of the word was aventure which was derived from Old French aventurer. The tagging of d to ME aventure is the product of the Renaissance influence upon the English language. After the Renaissance many English words which were originally derived from French were remodelled after their Latin originals. The ME form is still retained in the phrase at aventure, where a has been apprehended as the indefinite article (at a venture).

7. AMATEUR – An amateur is – or was – a person who loves a game or subject. The word comes from the Lat. amare (to love). Thus a painter like Sir Winston Churchill may properly be called an ‘amateur painter’ for though his works may indeed have genuine artistic merit. But presently the meaning is changed into ‘a person who is not specialist or professional’.

8. ARISTARCHY -The word is derived from the proper name Aristarch, and means “a body of severe critics". But the word is wrongly interpreted in the most dictionaries as a body of good men in power."

9. ALMS-  OE. aelmesse is derived from Greek eleemosure. ME. form of word was almesse, plural almesses. It is significant that the word occurs in connections where it is impossible to decide, from the context, whether a singular or plural is intended (e.g."ask alms", "give alms") In the Authorised Version of the Bible the word occurs eleven times, but eight of these are ambiguous, two are clearly singular and one is plural. Nowadays the association between the s of alms and the plural ending has become so firm that an alms is said and is written very rarely. (eleemosune >almesse> alms.)


10. BRIDAL - The word is an illustration of that linguistic phenomenon which is known as "Obscuration of Compounds” which means the loss of identity of the separate parts of a compound-the loss which results from the loss of stress, Old English compound bryd-ealu became in course of time bridal through phonetic change.

11. BEG - The word is an example of back-formations. The ar of beggar was mistaken for a derivative suffix, and as such it was subtracted from beggar to get the new verb to beg.

12. BEAUTIFUL - The word is an example of hybridism which is made up of parts derived from two or more different languages. Beautiful is a hybrid formed of the French word beauty and the English suffix-ful. According to H. Bradley the word beautiful was not known to have been used by any writer before Tindale, a Bible translator of the 16 the century. He is of the opinion that Tindale certainly did not invent it, but there is no doubt that by introducing it into the People's Book, he helped to bring it into general use.

13. BUSK- The word is borrowed from the Danes, because the sound combination sk (written sk or sc) in the word points to the Norse origin, since genuine English words have instead an sh sound. According to Jespersen the word is of Norwegian origin, and is illustrative of the fact that there were many Norwegians among the Scandinavian settlers.

14. BANKRUPT -  It is an Italian word, latinized from bancarotta, and the English owe this word to their commercial relations with the Italians.

15. BATH- (cp. bathe)- In the English language there is a tendency to have nouns and verbs of exactly the same sound, and as a result there are some interesting doublets in English. Besides the old noun bath and the verb to bathe, we have the recent verb to bath (She did not bath her baby today) and the noun bathe (I went to the river yesterday and had a very decent bathe).

16. BRIDEGROOM - The word exemplifies how folk-etymology sometimes transforms only part of a word. In the word bridegroom OE.gum 'man' has become groom by association with groom, ‘an attendant'.

17. BREECHES - OE. broc formed its plural brec. (cf. gos, ges, goose, geese) but gradually broc went out of use with the result that brec (subsequently breech) came to be looked upon as a singular and a new plural breeches formed. The word breeches in an instance of those words where the original singular is not in use, or the manner of forming the plural is no longer perspicuous.

18. BODICE - It is really nothing but a by-form of bodies. It is an instance of words (invoices, quinces etc.) which have a double plural ending. The unusual sound of the first ending (voiceless s where the ordinary ending is voiced as in joys, sins etc.) facilitated the forgetting of the original function the s written ce, and as such bodice came to be looked upon as a singular and a new plural can now be formed from it by adding the ordinary plural ending s.

19. BOYCOTT - Boycott illustrates the philological phenomenon that names of persons are a fruitful source of new words in English. The word boycott is derived from the name of Captain Boycott, an Irish landlord who ostracized about 1880. Boycott treated the cenants so truly that they rose in revolt against him and boycotted him (i.e. refused to have social or commercial relation with him) . This word has in recent times found its way into other languages. In English it is used as noun or verb.

20. BRETHREN – it is an instance of double formed from the original plural brether. When brether came to be used collectively for the members of a single family, it became necessary to have a second plural to express brothers of many families, and brethren was formed by adding to brether the en ending. In Modern English we restrict brothers which replaces brether, to those of one family, and use brethren for those who call one another brother, though belonging to different families.

21. BISHOP- The word is derived from OE, biscop which was derived from Latin episcopus. This word is as old as the introduction of Christianity in England. This word is also an example of apheresis which means the loss of an unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word. And in bishop we see one of the earliest examples of apheresis occurring in an English word, -bishop .

22. BY-LAW -  The English owe many law-terms to the Scandinavian settlers, which has been conclusively shown by Professor Steenstrup in his well-known work on Danelag. The most important of these law-terms is the word law itself, known in England from the 10th century in the form lagu which must have been the exact Scandinavian form. By-law is now felt to be a compound of the preposition by and law, but originally by was the Danish by meaning town or village (found in words like Derby, Whitby etc.). and the Danish genitive-ending is preserved in the other English form byrlaw which is now obsolete. By-law is probably from obsolete byr-law, local custom" (C.O.D.).


23. CAB- The word is derived from cabrioler by the process of what is known as Shortening, that is, the clipping of long foreign words. Like many other words formed by shortening, cab has undergone a sense-development of its own. A cab and a cabriolet are not the same kind of vehicle at all.

24. CALL - It is a Scandinavian loan word. It occurs for the first time in the glorious patriotic war-poem, written shortly after the battle of Maldon (993 AD.) which it celebrates. Call shows how early the linguistic influence of the Danes began to be felt and reveals that the relations between the English and the Danes were not altogether hostile.

25. CHARLOTTE - The French influence upon the English language has not been restricted to one particular period, and it is interesting to compare the forms of the old French loan-words with those of recent ones. This comparison will reveal the changes which French has undergone since the Middle Ages. Where a ch in an originally French word is pronounced, as in changes, chaunt etc., (with the sound-group (S), the loan is an old one; where it is sounded as in champagne (with simple S), the loan is a recent one. But it is curious that the two pet names should now be spelled in the same way Charlie, although they are distinct in pronunciation: the masculine is derived from the old loan Charles, and has, therefore, the sound (1S), the feminine is from the recent loan Charlotte with the sound (S).

26. CENSURE - The word is derived from Old French censure which was derived, in its turn, from Latin censura. The word found its way into the English language in the Middle English period. The word has also semantic significance. Of late it has undergone the degeneration of meaning by being specialised in meaning. In Elizabethan English it was a neutral word, and was used in the sense of judgement' as well as in that of 'blame.' Shakespeare has used the word in both the senses. He uses it in the sense of judgement' in Othello [II, 3, 191-93).
"The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure"

27. CERTAINTY - (cp. certitude) Certainly is a French word and certitude a Latin word. These two words are often used indiscriminately, but there is now a tendency to restrict certitude to merely subjective certainty, as in the following lines from Cardinal Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua" : "my argument is that certitude was a habit of mind, that certainty was a quality of propositions that probabilities which did not reach to logical certainty, might suffice for a mental certitude etc."

28. CHILDREN - Like brethren it is an instance of double plural formed from an original plural childer which is still preserved in the Northern dialect of England. When childer came to be used collectively for the offspring of a single family, a second plural became necessary to express children of many families. And the result was the formation of children by adding en ending to the plural childer. Childer has now fallen out of use in Standard English, and children now expresses children of a single family and of many families.

29. CHEAP - It is a Latin loan-word which the Germanie forefathers of the English had adopted before they left their continental homes to settle England. Cheap (OE.cēap), which originally meant bargain, price, is derived from Latin caupones which meant "wine-dealers, keepers of wine shops or taverns". Caupones were the chief type of Roman merchants with whom the Germanic forefathers of the English dealt when they were on the continent.

30. CHRISTMAS - There are many compounds in English which have undergone processes of phonetic change on account of their use without distinct consciousness of their etymological meaning; Christmas is an example of this fact. Christ's mass is now Christmas, with an altered pronunciation which quite disguises the first word. It is a fixed compound.

31. CHURCH -  It is a pre-Christian loan-word. It is derived from OE.cirice which was derived, in its turn, from the Greek word kuriakón (house) of the Lord'. The English knew the word (kuriakón) so well that when they became Christians, they did not adopt the word universally used in the Latin Church and in the Romanic languages (ecclesia, chiesa etc.) and they "even extended the signification of the word church from the building to the congregation, the whole body of Christians." (Jespersen).

32. CLIMAX -  Climax is one of those Greek loan-words which are used in English with a different signification from the classical ones. The Greek word klimax from which climax is derived means 'a ladder or gradation'. In English it is used in the sense of culminating point.

33. COOK - It is a Latin loan-word which the Germanic forefathers of the English had adopted before they left their continental homes to settle in Britain. The Old English form of the word was coc which came from Latin coquus. The adoption of such words as byden (barrel), kitchen (OE cycene from Latin coquina), scutel (dish), orc (pitcher, cook etc. suggests a complete revolution in the art of cooking of the forebears of the English. So cook is a milestone of general history.)

34. COMPANION-  The word has a diversified history. In its ordinary sense of associate' it is from the French compagnon which was derived from Roman companionem (comi'with and panis bread'). As a nautical term it is a corruption of the French chambre a la compagne (or the Italian camera della compagna) which meant the pantry' or storeroom on the ship's deck. Perhaps the English word passed through the Dutch languages (kompanje) where from many nautical terms have got into English. In the Elizabethan England companion in the snese of 'associate') was often used in a bad sense like fellow now.

35. COURT - It is a French loan word. Historically the word is very important, because it belongs to the list of those early French words which indicate the fact that the conquerors (Normans) formed the upper classes of the English society. That is why we see that almost all the words relating to government and the highest administration are French. Court is one of these words. Philologically also the word is important. The older French words have been, we know, so fully assimilated to the genius of the English language that they have followed its successive changes in pronunciation and stress. while, on the other hand, the later French loan-words have entered into the English language with their modem French pronunciation. Court is the Old French word, and as such has been fully assimilated to the English language, and has been subjected to the successive changes in pronunciation and stress.

36. COURTSHIP - It is an instance of hybridism. Strictly speaking we have a hybrid (a composite word formed of elements from different languages), as soon as an inflexional ending is added to a French word. Courtship is formed by adding English suffix -ship to the French word court. Courtship . The significance of the word lies in the fact that Shakespeare first uses it.

37. CULPRIT -The word illustrates a curious instance of word-making by shortening. It comes from the strange, corrupt Norman French once used in English law courts. After a prisoner had pleaded not guilty', the reply made on behalf of the king was 'culpable; prest' which meant (he is guilty. (and are ready to prove it). In the reports of criminal cases the phrase was monly abbreviated cul prest, and afterwards it was corruptly made into prit. Later on, as a result of the clerks of the King's practice of using the syllables culprit as an oral formula which was followed by the question will you be tried ?", addressed to the prisoner, it came to mean 'guilty man When culprit became a current word with a new sense, the use of the oral formula was discontinued.

38. CAMOUFLAGE - We owe this word to the First World War. It is from French camoufler, 'disguise'. Though originally a military term it is now also used as a general term, and as a general term it means "means of throwing people off the scent." The word is also an exmaple of what Barber calls conversion, that is, the transfer of a word from one grammatical category to another, (for example from verb to noun or from noun to verb), because in English the word is also used as a verb (to camouflage).


39. DAINTY -  Originally the word was a noun meaning a delicacy. It is derived from Old French daintie which is from Latin dignitatem. Though originally a substantive, it is now also used as an adjective. So the word is an example of conversion, that is, the transfer of a word from one grammatical category to another (for example, from verb to noun or from noun to adjective).

40. DAISY - The word is an example of the obscuration of compounds which means the loss of identity of the separate elements of compounds. Thus the old compound dayes eye has now become daisy through phonetic change. In daisy the compounding elements (dayes and eye) are so obscured that we never think of it as containing two elements.

41. DARKLING - Darkling is an adverb. It was formed by adding the suffix-ling which occurs in many other adverbs, now mostly obsolete, to dark. But in such a sentence as "I listen darkling," the suffix - ling looked exactly like the ending -ing with the happy result that a new verb to darkle was formed from the adverb by subtracting -ing.

42. DEBT- The Middle English form of the word was dette which is from Old French dette. The French dette was derived from Latin debitum. The intrusion of b into debt is due to the Latin influence of the Renaissance period, for quite a number of French words were remodelled into closer resemblance with their Latin originals. The incoming of b in debt has affected the spelling of the word, and not the pronunciation.

43. DEVIL- Devil is the Greek diábolos, 'slanderer’, ‘traducer'. This word was used as a Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Sätan (the adversary) who was the accuser or slanderer of the just, as in the first chapter of Job. Roman Christianity took the Greek word into Latin as diabolus, and from Latin it has passed into the Teutonic languages. The Anglo-Saxons adopted the Greek (or Latin) word devil before they went to Britain, and long before they were converted to the Christian religion.

44. DIE - Die (M.E. deghen) is from Old Norse deya. Death (deap) and dead were OE. noun and adjective as they are now, but the corresponding verbs were steorfan and sweltan. The Scandinavian verb deya obviously was more closely associated with the OE noun and adjective than the OE verbs, and as such it was taken over by the English to replace steorfan and sweltan.

45. DISCIPLE - Disciple (OE descipul, ME deciple) is from Latin discipulis. The original Latin sense of the word was that of a pupil' or 'scholar'. In English it is more or less limited to the twelve Disciples of Jesus or to similar applications.

46. DOUBT - Doubt, the Middle English form of which was doute, is from Old French doute. The b of doubt is due to the Latin influence of the Renaissance period, for during and after the Renaissance quite a number of French words of Latin origin were remodelled into closer resemblance with their Latin originals. The remodelling of the French (also English) doute after its Latin original dubitare resulted in the introduction of b into the word. It is interesting to find that the b in doubt as in debt has thrust itself into spelling, but has failed to assert itself in pronunciation.

47. DREAM - There are many words in English which have adopted the signification attached in Scandinavian to the corresponding words. Dream illustrates this fact. It meant in Old English "joy, mirth, revelry" and was commonly used of the pleasures of the warriors relaxing in the hall over their beer or mead, but the modern meaning of the word is taken over from Old Norse draumr (Old Saxon drūm, Old High German troum).


48. EARL - OE. eorl meant vaguely a 'noble man' or more loosely a brave warrior' or 'man' generally. But "under Knut it took over the meaning of the Norse jarl, 'an under-king' or governor of one of the great divisions of the realm, thus paving the way for the present signification of earl as one of the grades in the (French) scale of rank." (Jespersen)

49. EASTER- The word, which now means the festival of Christ's resurrection, is derived from eastron which was the name of an old pagan festival, called after Austro, a goddess of spring. It is one of those OE. words which were, after the introduction of Christianity in England, turned to account to express Christian ideas, the sense only being more or less modified.

50. EDITOR- The Latin word editor (from Latin verb édere) passed un changed into English in the sense of “the person who gives to the world a book or other literary work of which he is not the author". The editor has an ending which coincides in form with that of English agent-nouns, so that it has naturally suggested the coinage of a verb to edit (meaning to prepare for publication as an editor does) by subtracting the ending -or(-er). So the verb to edit is an example of back-formations.

51. EDUCATION - The word is formed from Latin edicatio meaning 'brining up’ (of the young) by adding the French suffix-ation. The Latin educatio is not derived from the Latin verb edúco meaning to draw out; so education does not mean "drawing out of the child's faculties". In their book "Wonde and their Ways in English Speech" Greenough and Kittredge say that "nothing could be more erroneous" than to take education as derived from Latin edaco and in the sense of drawing out of the child's faculties. They say that when educo came to be employed in many other senses than the original sense of bringing up from the egg to the chicken or from infancy to mature years, a special verb edúco which is only possible as a denominative verb from a real or supposed noun edur one who brings up or rears was made for this special meaning (i.e. bringing up), and this educo with its derivative noun edacatio was applied especially to training of children". To quote Greenough and Kittredge, "We may believe that the proper method of education is to draw out the latent faculties of the pupil, but we can find no suggestion of that method in the etymology of the word itself".

52. EGG - It is a Scandinavian loan word. The Old English forms of the word were ey, eyren. For a long time there was a struggle between the native (English) ey and the Scandinavian egg, and ultimately the intruder (Scandinavian) succeeded in ousting the legitimate heir (ey). Caxton has given, in a well-known passage, a graphic description of this struggle between the English ey and the Scandinavian egg.

53. EKE - The word illustrates the fact that many adverbs had, in the Elizabethan period, another signification than their present one. The adverb eke has been a comic expression in the Elizabethan period. It occurs only three times in Shakespeare (twice in "Merry Wives of Windsor", where it is used by Pistol and the Host, once in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" where it is used by Flute). As an adverb the word is of disputed origin; perhaps it is cognate with Old High German ouh, and Old Norse auk.

54. ENORMOUS -There are many words in English which have undergone a peculiar kind of semantic change which consists in the addition of emotional connotation to their primary sense. Enormous is an example of this kind of semantic change. In its etymological sense it merely expresses the fact that something passes the ordinary or prescribed limits". (H. Bradley). In the English of former times it often occurs in this matter-of-fact use. Thus "an enormous appetite formerly meant what we should now call an abnormal appetite. But now-a-days the word has taken on emotional connotation. Thus when we use the word enormous, we mean to indicate not only what is abnormal or unusual, “but that it is so in such degree as to excite our wonder, indignation or contempt".(H. Bradley).

55. EQUAL- It is derived from Latin equalis. The French derivative egal of he original Latin was for more than two centuries the commoner form. Equal which is now the only recognised form, was apparently a more learned form and Chaucer used it in Astrolabe, though in his poems he uses egal. Shakespeare generally uses equal, but egal is found a few times in some of the old editions of his plays.


56. FAD - The word is derived from fadaire by the process of what is known as Shortening or clipping. It is a case of shortening in which the end of long foreign words is clipped and the beginning is retained. It is one of those shortened words which have become so firmly established as to make the full words pass completely into oblivion.

57. FOLK -It sometimes happens that when both the native and its foreign synonym have survived in the English language, the latter has become the more popular, the former being relegated to the higher or poetical style. Folk is the native (English) word, while people is a French loan word. None will deny that people is a more popular, more expressive and more natural term than folk. So far as folk and people are concerned, it is hard to agree with Jespersen's observation that "The former (the native word) is always nearer the nation's heart than the latter (the French word), it has the strongest associations with everything primitive, fundamental, popular, while the French word is often more formal, more polite, more refined and has a less strong hold on the emotional side of life." People is neither formal, nor refined nor polite and is much more popular than folk. Folk may have primitive associations, and emotional connotation, but this is because of its association with the poetical compositions. A great and popular poet dramatist like Shakespeare rarely uses folk. He has used folk only four times and folks ten times. Shakespeare evidently looked upon the word as a low-class word, Folk is rare in the Authorized Version of the Bible and Milton never uses it.


58. GAIN - The modem gain (noun and verb) was borrowed in the fifteenth century from French, but it curiously coincided with an earlier noun gain meaning "advantage, use, avail, benefit, remedy' and a verb to gain meaning "to be suitable, or useful, to avail', and both the noun and the verb are from Old Norse.

59. GET-AT-ABLE -This is one of the derivatives which are formed by adding the English suffix -able to composite verbal expressions- get at+able. Though get-at-able, like come-at-able is pretty frequently heard in conversation, most people shrink from using it in writing.

60. GENTEEL - There are many French words which appear in English in more than one form. These words, which go back, by diverse courses, to the same original form, constitute what is known as doublets and triplicates. The words gentle, genteel, jaunty, all of which were borrowed from French at different times constitute an interesting triplicate. They represent three layers of borrowing from the same word, but all of them have the same initial sound.

61. GET - Get is a Scandinavian loan word. The corresponding OE word was yete. Get and yete were in use in England for a long time after the Scandinavian settlement. Ultimately yete fell out of use, but the Scandinavian get remained in circulation. Ger illustrates one of the most important tendencies of semantic development. There are many words in English which have undergone so much generalisation of meaning that they mean little or nothing but may stand for almost anything. Get is one of these words which have gradually faded into their present vague and shadowy condition. Thus say: 'He gets tired'. His chariot wheels get hot by driving fast. It is peculiarly idiomatic in certain phrases such as ‘to get rid of', 'to get angry'. 'to get the better of etc. But originally to get meant simply to ‘acquire'.

62. GIFT- The OE form of the word was yift, and the word meant “the price paid by a suitor in consideration of receiving a woman to wife" and in the plural marriage, wedding". The Scandinavian word 'gift' modified the word not only with regard to pronunciation but also with regard to meaning, for the modern meaning of the word has come from the Scandinavian word. "No subtler linguistic influence can be imagined than this, where a word has been modified both with regard to pronunciation and meaning, and curiously enough has by that process been brought nearer to the verb from which it was originally derived." (Jespersen).

63. GOSPEL - The Old English godspell literally 'good tiding' (which early became godspel through misreading the first element as 'God' instead of 'good' ) is now gospel. So gospel is an example of the obscuration of Compound that is, the loss of identity of the separate parts of a compound as a result of the loss of stress. Gospel also illustrates the phenomenon of assimilation - in gospel as in gossip d has heen assimilated to s.

64. GOSSIP - Gossip is an example of the obscuration of compound. Middle English godsip 'godfather intimate friend' has become gossip on account of the loss of stress, which has caused the obscuration of the separate parts of the compound The word has also undergone pejorative sense-development, because now it means simply "idle talker", "idle talk'. Like gospel gossip is an illustration of assimilation--in gossip d has been assimilated to s. The word also exemplifies that grammatical phenomenon which goes by the name of conversion, that is, the transfer of a word from one grammatical category to another. The verb to gossip is formed from the noun gossip in the sense of 'to talk idly. Thus gossip presents a curious oscillation between noun and verb: gossip (a) noun: godfather, intimate friend, idle talker, (b) verb: to talk idly. (c) new noun: idle talk.


65. HALE (WHOLE) - Whole (formerly hool) is an English word, while hale is the Scandinavia word. These two words-whole and hale were in the Old English period, the two different forms for the same word. They existed side by side for a long time, and ultimately both the forms survived, though they have developed slightly different meanings. There is an old phrase which both the forms were united- “hail and hool".

66. HAWK (vb) - It is an example of back-formations. The er in hawker: though an integral part of the word, was mistaken for a derivative suffix, and as such was dropped to get the new verb to hawk.

67. HANDBOOK - The Old English form of the word was handboc which was used for the one kind of handy books the clergy were in special need of But in the Middle English period handboc came to be disused and the French/ (Latin) manual took its place. In the sixteenth century the Greek enchiridion (meaning a small handy book) found its way into the English language. In the nineteenth century the old compound word handbook made its reappearance, but the English had grown so accustomed to using strange and exotic words that such a natural and expressive word as handbook was treated as an unwelcome intruder. Of late the word has gained much ground and is preferred to enchiridion and manual. Enchiridion might be said to have fallen out of use.

68. HEATHEN - Heathen the Old English form of which was haethen is derived from Germanic haith 'heath'. The word is derived in close imitation of Latin pagarrus which is from pagus 'a country district".

69. HELPMATE - This word offers a striking example of word-making through misunderstanding. In the Bible of 1611, the Hebrew words of Genesis ii., 18 were literally rendered "an help meet (i.e. fit, suitable) for him." Readers mistook the two words help meet for a compound with the result that help meet became current as a synonym for one's "partner in life'. "People have been known to suppose that it meant 'one who helps to make ends meet, but commonly when the word has been analysed at all, the second element has been imagined to be synonymous with mate, or perhaps an incorrect form of it. This notion suggested the formation of helpmate which is a very good and correctly made compound, though it did originate in a blunder" (H. Bradley)

70. HENPECK - It is an example of back formations. The ed in henpecked, though an integral part of the word, was mistaken for a derivative suffix, and as such was dropped to get the new verb to henpeck. Henpeck is not a compound made of a verb as the second (i.e. peck), and an object as the first (i.e. hen), part, because to form compounds with a verb as the second, and the object or a predicative as the first part is not usual in Germanic languages.

71. HODGE-PODGE - Hotchpot (from French hocher'shake together' and por) was made hotch-potch for the sake of rime; then the final ich was changed into dge: hotch-podge was thus changed into hodge-podge.

72. HOUSEWIFE - The Old English form of the word was huswif (hus + wif). OE huswif in course of time lost w, both vowels were shortened, s was sounded (z) and f became v or even lost. The changes in pronunciation were followed by those in meaning. In the derived meanings 'needle-case' and 'jade' we find the forms huzzif, huzzive and huzzy (hussy). But in the original sense the word was constantly revived: housewife.

73. HUSSY - The word is an example of what is known as the obscuration of compound, that is, the loss of identity of the separate parts of a compound as a result of the loss of stress. OE. compound hus-wif  'house wife' has now become hussy through phonetic change. We now hardly suspect that the word is a compound, so great has been the obscuration of the parts. The word was once a respectable word, but it has now undergone degeneration of meaning and has come to mean simply ‘a pert girl' or 'woman of light character’.


74. INNINGS - In some words the s of the plural has become fixed, as if it belongs to the singular. Innings illustrates this philological phenomenon. The use of innings which is plural in form as a singular is due to the fact that “the logical idea of a single action or thing has proved stronger than the original grammar". Means is another Word which is plural in form, hut often singular in use.

75. INCH  - It is a Latin loan word which the Germanic forefathers of the English had adopted before they left their continental homes to settle England. The Old English form of inch was ynce, which came from Latin uncia, 'twelfth part'. I-mutation points to very early borrowing-  u>y (i) : uncial>ynce>inch

76. INTERNATIONAL - The word was coined by Bentham in 1780 “It marks linguistically the first beginning of the era when relations between nations came to he considered like relations between citizens, capable of peaceful arrangement according to right rather than according to might Jespersen).

77. ISLAND  - The word, the OE. and ME. forms of which were respectively iegland and iland is from Old Norse ieg. The intrusion of s into ME. iland due to its association with the French isle (Now ile) which was adopted later on. We should note that the French word affected the spelling, and not the pronunciation.

 78. ITS - Before 1600 A.D., his was neuter as well as masculine. After that time its came to be used for the neuter. Florio who was a foreigner first uses in 1998 and several times in his later works. In Shakespeare its occurs a few times only in those plays which exist only in editions published after his death. The Bible of 1611 has no its. "The use of its became general in the seventeenth century, but for a long time there seems to have been a feeling that the older his or her was more dignified" (H.Bradley).


79. KANGAROO - It is an Australian word, taken by the English settlers of Australia.

80. KINDERGARTEN- English has taken over the German word 'kindergarten’ unchanged. The word illustrates the English tendency to swallow foreign words raw instead of translating the foreign expression into some native equivalent.

81. KINE - It is an instance of double plural formed from the original plural ky (still preserved in the Northern dialect). When ky came to be used collectively for the herd of a single owner, a second plural (ky-en>kine) was formed by adding-en ending to the existing plural ky to express the ky emot many owners. To quote Emerson. The archaic plural kine comes from OE. cy, the mutated form of cü 'cow' to which has been added the -en(ne) ending of such a word as oxen. Kine is therefore a double plural.

82. KIRK - Church and kirk are doublets - they both go back, by diverse courses, to the same original form (i.e. Greek kuriakon), kirk is a Scandinavian and church an English, form for the same word. For a long time they were lo use in English side by side, but ultimately kirk has come to survive in dialects only. It is interesting to see that Coleridge has used kirk for church in his  “Rime of the Ancient Mariner" a number of times :
"To walk togсther to the kirk And all together pray" (Line 606-7) and
"Is this the hill? is the kirk?" (line 466) 

83. KISS - The OE. form of the word was cyssan (Old Norse kyssa) which is from Germanic kussjan. The word is an example of conversion, that is, the transfer of a word from one grammatical category to another, for example from verb to noun or from adjective to noun. Kiss which was originally only a verb is now used unchanged also as a noun: “Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses” (Wordsworth's Ode on Intimations of Immortality, line 88).

84. KITCHEN- It is a Latin loan-word which the Germanic forefathers of the English had adopted before they left their continental homes to see in Britain. The Old English form of the word was cycene which came to Latin coquina. The adoption of such words as byden (barrel), kitchen, scule (dish), orc (pitcher), cook(OE coc from Latin coquus), suggests a complete revolution in the art of cooking of the forebears of the Anglo-Saxons. So kitchen is a milestone of general history.


85. LANGUAGE- The ME. form of the word was langage which was from French langage. The Latin form of the word is lingua 'the tongue". The French form langage was used in England for centuries, then after the Renaissance it became language by a curious crossing of French and Latin forms.

86. LOOT- It is one of those words which the English owe to India. Loot, a Hindi word, was learnt by the English soldiers in India, and has now found its way into the English vocabulary in the sense of "goods taken from enemy, spoil, booty, illicit gains made by official" (C.O.D.). The word is also used as a verb.


87. MACHINE- It is a French word which is from Latin machina. The word is an illustration of the linguistic maxim. "everyman is his own specializer." Special senses of words depend mainly on our business, profession, or chief interest in life, but in some cases they come from accidental associations of ideas or from obscure habits of thought. Machine is a term which applies to all kinds of mechanical contrivances. But to the bicycle-rider it suggests at first the particular kind of mechanical contrivance on which he rides. To the tailor, on the other hand, it suggests at first the sewing machine by means of which he earns his livelihood. So, machine, like wheel, engine etc. illustrates a peculiar tendency of semantic development.

88. MICE - Mice is one of those irregular plurals in English which were formed in old English by mutation (e.g. man-men, foot-feel, mouse-mice, louse-lice), and which have not gone out of use even after-es has become the universal plural ending.

89. MINT- Mint, the OE. form of which was mynet, is from Latin moneta ‘money'. It is one of those pre-Christian Latin loan-words which the Germanic forefathers of the English (i.e. the Angles and Saxons) adopted from the Romans while they were still in their continental home.

90. MOB - It is an example of shortening, and of that type of shortening where the end of a whole phrase is lopped off. The Latin phrase mobile vulgus has thus been shortened into mob.

91. MUTTON - Mutton is a historically significant word. It throws a flood of light on the reciprocal relations between the Normans and the English. Mutton is a French loan word. After the Norman Conquest the living animals like sheep continued to bear their English names, but their flesh as used for food was denoted by French words like mutton. The point is explained by the fact that the English servants were in change of the sheep when alive but when killed they were eaten by their French masters.

[Note: the similar significance informs such words as beef (ox) veal (calf), pork (swine) venison (deer)]


92. NEWS - Middle English formed its plural news by adding - (-es) to the singular new after Old French noveles (French nouvelles) or medieval Latin novus, the neuter plural of Latin novus 'new'. It belongs to the class of plural forms such as means, pains, where the s of the plural has been fixed as if it belonged to the singular. So these nouns (news, means etc.) are usually followed by singular verbs.

93. NOT- The long development which not has undergone is an interesting study. The earliest English negative adverb is ne which was placed before the verb, as in OE. ic ne secge (I do not say). But frequently he was strengthened by the addition of noht (from nawiht, nowiht, meaning 'nothing') after the verb: noht became not, and the typical ME. construction was I ne seye not (I do not say). But ne was pronounced with so little stress that it was apt to be dropped altogether, and in the fifteenth century the construction came to be I say not. This construction had survived for some centuries before the dummy auxiliary do was yoked to the service of making negative sentences. Now not is used immediately after dummy do, as in I do not say.


94. ORANGE- The word is derived from Arabic naranj through Old French.

95. OXEN -  Oxen is an interesting word from the philological point of view. One of the plural endings in Old English was an. It was added to a very great number of nouns to form the plural from the very beginning. It showed great powers of expansion and at one time seemed as likely as (e)s become the universal plural ending. But finally (e)s carried the day, probably because it was the most distinctive ending and possibly under the Scandinavian influence. In the beginning of the modern period eyen, shoon and hosen, housen, peasen still existed, but they soon died, and now ox only real plural in n surviving, for children as well as the biblical kine and brethren are too irregular to count as plurals made by the addition of n." (Jespersen)


96. PANDER -  There are a certain number of proper names in works of literature which have been so popular as to pass into ordinary language as appellatives. Thus Pander (Pandarus), a character of Chaucer's "Troilus and Criseyde", has passed into ordinary language as pander meaning 'go-between in clandestine amours.

97. PEA - It is an example of words that lose the s originally belonging to their stem, because it (s) is mistakenly apprehended as the sign of the plural. Latin pisum became in Old English pise, in Middle English pese (plural pesen). Butler (1633) has used peas as singular and peasen as plural, but he writes "the singular is most used for the plural: as.... a peck of peas, though the Londoners seem to make it a regular plural, calling peas a pea. In such compounds as peablossom, peaseporridge and peasesoup the old form was preserved long after pea had become the recognised singular.

98. PERFECT - The ME. forms of the word were parfit, and parfet we were derived from the Old French parfit, parfet (modern parfait). Theo French parfit or parfet was derived from Latin perfectus. During and after the Renaissance many French words in English were remodelled into close resemblance with their Latin originals and the result was the introduction into the word (parfer) from the Latin. At first the introduction of c affected the spelling only, but in time, however, the spelling carried the pronunciation with it and we have the modern word (perfect).

99. PERKS  - The word is derived from perquisites by the process of what is known as Shortening. It is a case of shortening in which the end of long foreign words is clipped and the beginning is retained. It is one of those shortened words which have never passed beyond slang.

100. PET - The word is an example of what Dr. Murray has termed as backformations which owe their origin to one part of a word being mistaken for some derivative suffix (or rarely prefix) The ty of petty was mistaken to some derivative suffix and as such was subtracted to get the new word per meaning favourite. The editors of The Concise Oxford Dictionary are of the opinion that the origin of pet is unknown.

101. PETTY - It is a French loan word and is from Old French petir. It was introduced in England by jurists in such combinations as petty jury, petty larceny, petty constable, petty treason etc., at a time when legal procedure was conducted in England entirely in French, (i.e. before 1362). Though originally a legal term, it has got, for long, into the ordinary vocabulary of everyday life.

102. PICK-POCKET- This word exemplifies a special type of compounds in English. This type of compounds made up of verbs and objects seems to have originated in Romanic languages (i.e. French, Italian, Spanish etc.) but has, in recent years, proved very fertile in English. Pick-pocket is made up of pick (vb) and pocket (object). (Other examples of this type of compounds are know-nothing, break-water, cut-purse, stop-gap etc.)
103. PICTURE - The word is derived from Latin pictura. In Middle English peynture was the normal form, and Chaucer has peynture, as in French (peinture). But after the Renaissance peynture was remodelled into closer resemblance with its Latin original (i.e. pictura) with the result that the c was introduced into the ME. word. So we have picture instead of peynture.

104. PLOUGH -  It is one of those English words which have adopted the signification attached in Scandinavian to the corresponding word. Old English ploh meant "a measure of land." This meaning still survives in Scotch pleuch. In Middle English it came to mean the implement plough as in Old Norse plógr.

105. PREMISES - The word is derived from Old French premisse which is from medieval Latin praemissa. Originally it meant things set forth or mentioned in the beginning. But the current popular use of premises in the Sense of a house with the outbuildings and the land belonging to it is a striking example of the development of a new meaning through misunderstanding" (H.Bradley).

106. PUNY - It is one of those French juridical terms which have found their way into the ordinary vocabulary of everyday life. The French legal term puis né has passed into the ordinary vocabulary as puny, though in its legal sense of ‘younger or inferior in rank' it remains puisne in English.


107. REFEREE - The word is formed by adding French ending-ee to refer which is from Old French referer or Latin re (ferrelatum "bring).

108. RAISE - This word is imported from Scandinavia. This word and the native word rear existed side by side in the English language for a long time as the two slightly different forms for the same word. Both the forms her ultimately survived in standard language though they have developed slightly different meaning. Rear-raise.

109. RICHES - It is one of those words the s of which, though belonging the stem of words, is taken by the popular instinct to be a plural ending. The ME. form of the word was richesse which is from Old French (riche 'rich' ess). Chaucer lays stress on the second syllable (richesse) as in French, and uses the plural richesses. But as subsequently the final e disappeared and as the word occurred very often in such a way that the context did not show its number, riches came to be conceived as a plural, as in "riches are a source of unhappiness". The singular use, as in the riches of the ship is come on shore (Shakespeare's Othello, II, 1,83) has now become wholly obsolete.


110. SANDWICH - Sandwich illustrates the philological phenomenon that names of persons are a fruitful source of new words in English. The noun sandwich is derived from the name of the first Earl of Sandwich who is said to have eaten slices of bread and meat while gaming for twenty four hours. It means "two or more slices of bread with meat cheese etc, between". It is also used as a verb in the sense put somebody/something between two other people or things, especially in a restricted space." So it is a case of conversion, that is, the transfer of a word from one grammatical category to another (from noun to verb and vice versa).

111. SAUNTER -  It is from French s’auntrer, another form for s'aventurer: 'to adventure oneself. According to Jespersen, "There is a curious parallel to the Norse bask and busk in saunter, where the French reflective pronoun has become fixed as an inseparable element of the ward."

112. SCIENTIST - Scientist has often been branded as an 'ignoble Americanism' or 'a cheap and vulgar product of trans-Atlantic slang', but Fitzedward Hall has pointed out that it was fabricated and advocated in 1840, together with physicist by Dr. Whewell. Whoever objects to such words as scientist. Jespersen says, on the plea that they are not correct Latin formations, would have to blot out of his vocabulary such well established words as suicide, telegram, botany, sociology etc.

113. SEAT – It is a Scandinavian loan-word. It comes from the Scandinavian saete. It was adopted because it was at once associated with the verbs to sit and to set. Though it was taken over as a noun we have now the new verb to seat (to place on a seat).

114. SHIRT- OE. scyrte has now become shirt. It is wrong to suppose that the word comes from Old Norse skyrta ‘shirt' which has given birth to the word skirt, OE scurte as well as Old Norse skyrta is from Germanic skurtjon, and so the modern words shirt and skirt are doublets.

115. SILLY - The word illustrates the well-known semantic fact that the ironical use of a word generally leads to its degeneration of meaning. Silly is from OE. saelig. It once meant 'blessed' or 'happy' like its equivalent German selig. "In Middle English it was often used satirically in a tone of mock envy or admiration, and hence acquired the disparaging sense which it now has" (H. Bradley). According to G.L. Brook the stages in its sense development have been 'innocent', then 'harmless', then 'weakly foolish'.

116. SISTER - The word is from Old Norse swuster, and not from OE sweoster. For a longtime the OE.word and the old Norse word were in use in England side by side as the two slightly different forms for the same word. Ultimately, however, the native form (i.e. sweaster) went out of use, and the Norse word (i.e. swuster) continued in use as the only form. So in sister we have now a Scandinavian loan-word.

117. SLOGAN - It is one of the specimens of the Celtic contingent in English. It has got into the English language through Scotch Gaelic. Originally meant "highland war-cry". But now the word has undergone generalization of meaning, and has come to mean also “party cry'' watchword' motto, so catchy phase used in advertizing.'

118. SPINSTER -It is the feminine gender of bachelor. But curiously enough bachelor is French, while spinster (also maid) is English.

119. SPORT - It is an instance of word-making by the process of shortening i.e. popular clipping of foreign words. The French word disport has been shortened into sport.

120. SCAPEGOAT - Tyndale, one of the Bible translators of the sixteenth century coined this word while he was translating a Hebrew term which he had not fully understood. Though the word originated in a misinterpretation of a Hebrew term, the word is, as Dr. H. Bradley says, "a singularly felicitous expression of the intended meaning, and in figurative use has proved a valuable addition to the language."


121. TRANSPIRE - The word is from medieval Latin trans (spirare 'breathe') or from French transpirer. Etymologically, the word means "breathe through and a circumstance may be correctly said to have transpired in the sense of having become known in spite of efforts to keep it secret. But the use of the word in the sense of 'happen' (as in the events which transpire now-a-days are unprecedented in history'), so frequent in the newspapers is objectionable. This current sense of the word is not due to any deviation from Latin usage, but due to a vulgar misunderstanding of the word.

122. THEM - The word was imported from Scandinavia. The OE, dative was hem which still survives in the form 'em (as in "take 'em") which is now taken to be a shortened them by people ignorant of the history of the language. The Scandinavian them and the OE. hem were in use side by side for a long time; but them was felt to be more distinct than the native form which it supplanted.

123. THENCE - The OE. form of the word was thanon and the Scandinavian form was thethen. Both these forms existed in English side by side for a long time, and it is generally supposed that the Scandinavian form was discarded ultimately in favour of the native form (thanon) to which an adverbials was added. But Jespersen is of the opinion that thence may just as well be due to the Scandinavian one, th being lost as in since.

124. THEY - The word was taken from Scandinavia. The  OE. form of the pronoun was tho, and the corresponding Scandinavian pronoun was they Both the English and the Scandinavian forms were in use side by side for a long time, but ultimately the English pronoun tho) dropped from use, and the Scandinavian they continued in use, because they agreed well with other pronouns, and was felt to be more distinct than the native form which it supplanted.

125. THURSDAY - The English owe this word to the Scandinavians. The corresponding OE. word was thunresdoei. The OE. word as well as the Scandinavian one continued in use side by side for a long time, but ultimately the Scandinavian word Thursday came to supplant the native word Thursday was originally a day of Thor, the God of Thunder.

126. TIDINGS - The CE. form of the word was tidung. The English often modified the Scandinavian words they adopted. Old Norse nithindi, though unchanged in Orrms' titheunde was generally changed into tiding (s).

127. TOWN - It is a native Germanic word. Old English tun meant "en closure, yard", "enclosed land round a dwelling". But after the influence of the Celts had disappeared, the word acquired its modern meaning of village or town. "The word points to the stockaded settlements of a time long before the Angles and Saxons saw Britain." (Greenough and Kittredge.)

128. TRUSTEESHIP - The word is a grand example of hybridism of words formed from elements derived from two or more different languages. It is made up of parts derived from three different languages—Scandinavian, French and English. It contains Scandinavian trust, a French suffix-ee and English suffix -ship: (trust+ee + ship)=trusteeship. Jespersen says: "Such a word as trusteeship is eminently characteristic of the composite character of the language." And English is perhaps the most composite of all languages.

129. TYPEWRITE - It is an example of back-formations. The -er has been subtracted from typewriter to get the verb to typewrite, because the-er though an integral part of the word typewriter was mistaken for the derivative suffix. It is not wise to take the word as a compound with the verb (write) as the second, and the object (type)as the first part because it is not usual in Germanic languages to form compounds with a verb as the second and an object or a predicative as the first part" (Jespersen).


130. VERDICT - The ME. form of the word was verdit which was derived from the Old French voirdit (veir 'true' + dit past participle of dire' say) After the Renaissance verdict was remodelled after its Latin counterpart veredictum with the result that the c of the Latin word was introduced into verdict. So ME verdit has now become verdict. To remodel the French words into closer resemblance with their Latin originals was a lingustic fashion in England during and after the Revival of Learning.

131. VILLAIN - The word is a grand example of degeneration of meaning or pejorative sense-development. It is derived from the Latin villa 'farmhouse through villanus which means 'a slave attached to one's counrty-place'. Originally it meant 'a farm labourer' replacing the English word chur/ which originally meant "peasant, boor'. Soon, however, it became a term of contempt for one who did not belong to the gentry. Gradually there clustered round villain a set of ideas associating with it all the qualities opposed to the comprehensive word courtesy. Thus villain was applied to a 'low fellow' in general and villainy was used for low conduct. From this to the present meaning is a short step: the implied moral reprobation has simply been intensified" (Greenough and Kittredge). Villain has now lost its association with any particular rank of life with the result that a peasant as well as a prince may be called a villain if he is morally wicked.

132. VICTUALS  -The Middle English form of the word was vittles which is from French vitailles. After the Renaissance vittles was remodelled after its Latin original victualis (pl. victualia) with the result that the c of the Latin word was introduced into vittles. So ME vittles has now become victuals. To remodel the French words borrowed in the Middle English period into close resemblance with their Latin originals was a linguistic fashion in England after the Revival of learning.

133. VIXEN - It is supposed to have been borrowed from the Southern dialect of England and is one of the three Teutonic words with initial v which Modern English contains (these three words being vane, vat, vixen). The of the word was fyxen which became vixen by the shifting off into vin Southern English an original f generally shifted into v).


134. WAR - The Middle English form of the word was werre which is from Old North French werre (Central French guerre). This word is a linguistic evidence that after the Norman Conquest the French were the powerful class that took into their hands the management of military affairs. Though it was introduced purely as a military word, it is now extensively used outside the military affairs.

135. WEIRD - The OE. form of the word was wyrd which meant fate, and wyrd is from warth meaning to become to take place'. Originally it was a noun meaning 'destiny, fate'; the three weird sisters means the fate sisters or Norns. Shakespeare found this expression in Holinshed and has used it in speaking of the witches in Macbeth. From Macbeth it entered into the ordinary language, but without being properly understood. It is now generally used as an adjective and means 'supernatural, uncanny unearthly.'

136. WINE - It is one of the pre-Christian Latin loan-words which the Angles and Saxons had acquired from the Romans before they went to Britain. The OE. form of the word was win, and is from Latin vinum.

137. WOMAN - Woman is pregnant with great philological significance. In woman are concentrated a number of important linguistic, phonetic and grammatical developments. In the first place, woman is an example of what is known as the obscuration of compounds, that is, the loss of identity of the separate parts of compounds as a result of the loss of stress. OE. compound wifmann has now become woman through phonetic change. Secondly, though the OE. short u sound to be heard in such modern words as full, pull, bull has regularly become the sound of modern but there are a few modern words which preserve the old u sound and woman is one of these words. Though the examples of complete assimilation (i.e. changes in consonants, by assimilation to one another) are not numerous, woman is one of these few words - woman (also women) <wifman through wimmen illustrates the assimilation of f to m. But the greatest philological charm of woman lies in the fact that in the days of grammatical gender-system (that is, in Old English) woman (OE. wif-mann) was masculine.

The plural of woman (e.g, women) is one of those irregular plurals in English, which were formed in Old English by mutation, and which have not gone out of use even after -es has become the universal plural ending.


138. YANKEE - The term was originally applied to the inhabitants of the Dutch colonies in North America. Now Jan Kees is a nickname which is still applied in Flanders to people from Holland proper. Jan is the common Dutch name which corresponds to English John, and Kees may be either the usual of the Christian name Cornelis or a dialectical variation of kaas or a combination of both. “Jankees, in English became Yankees, where the s was taken as the plural ending and eventually disappeared, and Yankee became the designation of any inhabitant of New England and even sometimes of the whole of the United States." (Jespersen).

139. YOU— The old declension of ye (nominative) and you (accusative and dative) has given way to the modern use of you in all cases.


140. ZERO - cipher, O, XVII c.; temperature denoted by this symbol, XVIII c.; nought, nothing, XIXI c. It is 'zero' in Fr., 'zero' in It. (the source of Fr.), O.Sp. 'zero' (mod. 'cero') and Arab. 'cifr' (cpher).

141. ZIGZAG - having the form of twisted or crooked XVIII c. Earliest forms being 'Ziczac', Zig-zac': Fr. 'Zigzag'; G. 'Zickzack,' of symbolic formation of direction, applied first to fortifications'. Hence 'Zigzag' vb. (Burns), 'Zigzagged' (Goldsmith), "Zigzag-gery' (Sterne).


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