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sixteenth century gradually becoming suppressed, when no sibilant preceded. -es (3rd pers. sing.) is always mute, and -es (plural and gen. sing.) is only occasionally pronounced in some of the earlier plays. Even after a sibilant the -es of the plural and of the gen. sing. is often not pronounced, and is occasionally not written.

Letters should not | be known; | rich(es), pov | erty | (ii. 1. 150). The fresh springs, brine- | pits, bar | ren place | and fer | tile. (i. 2. 338). Than other prin | cess(es) can | that have | more time (i. 2. 173). On the other hand, es is sounded in achés (see note on i. 2. 370). -est (2nd sing.) and -eth (3rd sing.) are practically always contracted in the later plays, e.g.

Shrug'st thou, malice?

If thou neglect'st or dost unwillingly (i. 2. 367–368).

-est in the superlative is often retained, but it is six times contracted in The Tempest.

-ed (past tense and part.) shows much variety, but the contracted form is the commoner.

d. In the last but one syllable. An unaccented vowel is sometimes lost before a consonant in the middle of a word of more than two syllables: e.g. diligent 1 (iii. 1. 42), business (i. 2. 255).

(2) Vowel and Vowel-like. The letters l, m, n, and r have been given the name of "vowel-likes," because they can exercise the double function of a vowel or a consonant.

a. Thus, one of these letters by passing from its consonant to its vowel value may form a new syllable. This is much commoner in earlier than in later plays, e.g.

They vanish'd strangely.2 No matter, since (iii. 3. 40).

b. By passing from its vowel to its consonant value the "vowellike" may cause the loss of a syllable, e.g.

brother and yours (v. 1. 12), (brothẹ | r-and); mis'shapen knave (v. 1. 268), (mis-shape-n (kn)ave); officer and (i. 2. 84), (off-icẹ-rand).

Similarly within a word the unaccented vowel often suffers syncope before or after a "vowel-like": e.g. parallel (i. 2. 74), and popular (i. 2. 92).

1 A dot under any letter (i) indicates that it is suppressed or slurred.
* A circle under a “vowel-like" (1) denotes that it has syllabic value.

"Vowel-likes" underwent a still further reduction analogous to the suppression or slurring of vowels. Thus I or r could be partially suppressed before a consonant, e.g.

And hith (er) come in 't: | go, hence | with dil | igence! (i. 2. 304.)

c. The "vowel-like" r often caused a preceding long vowel to become a diphthong out of which two syllables were developed: e.g. fairly spoke (iv. 1. 31); präyers (i. 1. 53); hour =ow-er (v. 1. 4). (3) Vowel and Vowel.

Two adjacent vowels may be run into one in the same or in different words.

a. In different words.

This happens especially when the first word is the or to, e.g. th' event (i. 2. 117), th' afternoon (iii. 2. 96). Here the final vowel is altogether suppressed, but other final vowels rather formed a diphthong with the initial vowel: e.g. How came we ashore? (i. 2. 158).

b. In the same word.

This is most frequent when the first vowel is i or u, which readily pass into y or w: e.g. consciences (ii. 278); odious (iii. 1. 5). When a stressed vowel is followed by an unstressed, the two may have the value of one syllable: e.g. being (i. 2. 72), deity (ii. 1. 278).

c. Contraction of vowels sometimes accompanies the loss of an intervening consonant.

Thus even in its adverbial sense is a monosyllable in 85 cases out of 100, and is often spelled e'en. (But the adjective even is always two syllables.) So ever and never are often one syllable, and over is so in more than 60 per cent cases. Whether, rather, other, and whither also are often monosyllables.


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abysm (i. 2. 50), abyss, from O.F. abisme, abime, late Lat. abyssimus, a superl. of abyssus; lit. the profoundest depth.' amain (iv. 1. 74), at full speed, swiftly. The word literally "in strength on or in, and main strength, from O.E. mægen. Apparently not preceded by an earlier full on main, but formed in sixteenth century after words in a-, as afoot (Murray). amazement (i. 2. 14), confusion, distress of mind; stronger than mere astonishment. So amazedly in stage direction (v. 1. 216) means in a state of bewilderment." M.E. amase, which had often the sense of producing disaster as well as confusion. Cf. Richard II, i. 3. 81, amazing thunder." attached (iii. 3. 5), seized, at

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tacked by. O.F. atachier, from a root probably cognate with English tack; hence probably = to tack to.

betid (i. 2. 31), happened. M.E. be-tiden, happen, a_synonym of tiden, from O.E. tid-an, happen.

blow (iii. 1. 63), deposit eggs on, foul, sully. Cf. Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2. 408-409:

"these summer flies Have blown me full of maggot ostentation."

bootless (i. 2. 35), profitless, useless. O.E. bót, advantage, profit. The substantive I

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cat o' mountain (iv. 1. 262). Probably one of the smaller varieties of the leopard, and the name was apparently not strictly confined to one animal" (Wright). Thus Topsell gives it as a synonym for a leopard, Minsheu for a wild cat, and Florio for an ounce. catch (iii. 2. 126), a part-song.


Catch, round, or roundelay, and canon in unison are, in music, nearly the same thing. In all, the harmony is to be sung by several persons, and is so contrived that, though each sings precisely the same notes as his fellows, yet by beginning at stated periods of time from each other, there results a harmony of as many parts as there are singers. The catch differs only in that the words of one part are made to answer or catch the other, as Ah! how Sophia'sung like a house o' fire.' (Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time), quoted by Wright.

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certes (iii. 3. 30), certainly. O.F. certes, more fully (according to Littré) a certes, from probably late pop. Lat. a certis, on certain grounds. chanticleer (i. 2. 385), the cock. Originally a proper name: O.F. chantecler, the name of the cock in the O.F. romance, Reynard the Fox. It means the clear singer," from chanter, to sing, and cler, clear. chirurgeonly (ii. 1. 140), like a surgeon. Chirurgeon is the old spelling of surgeon. F. chirurgien, Gr. χειρουργός, α worker with the hands. chough (ii. 1. 266), red-legged crow. Cognate with O.E. ceó; named from cawing. cockerel (ii. 1. 31), a young cock, applied satirically to a young man. A diminutive of cock; perhaps of Anglo-Fr. origin, but no such word found in O.F. dictionaries; perhaps of English formation; the termination seems to be the same as in haggerel, mongrel, pickerel. (See Murray.) coil (i. 2. 207), confusion, uproar. Gaelic goil, rage, battle. complexion (i. 1. 32), constitution, from Lat. complexionem. It referred in M.E. to the four Humours mixed in varying proportions in each human body; so Chaucer, of his complexion he was sanguin.' Thence it denoted as now (2) the outer appearance of the face as an index of temperament, and then (3) outer appearance in general. All three meanings are common in Shakespeare (Herford). control (i. 2. 439), contradict, confute; the original meaning to check, verify, from O.F. contre-role, a duplicate register used to verify the official or first made roll.

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ecstasy (iii. 3. 108), commotion of mind. Used in E.E. of any mental disturbance, whether due to joy, grief, or any other cause. O.F. ecstase, through the Latin, from Gr. exσTASIS, displacement.

feater (ii. 1273), more gracefully.

featly (i. 2. 380), nimbly, gracefully.

flat-long (ii. 1. 181), with the flat side. There were some adverbs in O.E., originally dative feminine singular, ending in -inga, -unga, -linga, -lunga. A few of these, without the dative suffix, exist under the form -ling or -long, as headlong, sidelong, darkling, flatling, and flatlong. The last two words were specially used of a blow with the flat of a sword; cf. Spenser, Faërie Queene, v. 5. 18: "Tho' with her sword on him she flatling strooke, and Sidney's Arcadia, in the description of Pamela's execution, The pittilesse sword had such pittie of so precious an object that at first it did but hit flatlong." flote (i. 2. 234), sea, from O.E. flot; cf. Ger. fluth.

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foison (ii. 1. 163; iv. 1. 110),

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mantle (v. 1. 67), cover with a scum; cf. filthy-mantled pool" (iv. 1. 182). The verb is formed from the subs. mantle, a cloak or covering; M.E. mantel, O.F. mantel, Lat. mantellum, a napkin or covering.

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marmoset (ii. 2. 174), a small American monkey. The name, however, is older than the discovery of America, as Maundeville mentions apes, marmozettes, babewynes." O.F. marmoset, translated by Cotgrave, the cock of. a cistern or fountain, any antick image from whose teats water trilleth, any puppet or antick." "Thus it meant a grotesque creature, originally a grotesque ornament on a fountain. Formed by a Parisian change of r to s, as in chaise for chaire (a chair), from Low Lat. marmoretum, a thing made in marble, applied to fountains. At the same time, the transference in sense from 'drinking-fountain to ape' was certainly helped on by confusion with F. marmot, a marmoset or little monkey (Skeat). meddle (i. 2. 22), mix, mingle. M.E. medlen, O.F. medler, from Low Lat. misculare, Lat. miscere.

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merely (i. 1. 59), entirely, absolutely, from Lat. merus,


minion (iv. 1. 98), favorite, from F. mignon, dainty, pleasing, kind. Same root as O.H.G. minna, memory, love, whence minnesinger = singer of love.

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