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assessed portion, a regulation or standard quantity, then any measure or dimension, Fr. assise, a settlement, It. assisa, from Lat. assessus. In the Romance of Sir Tryamour two persons are said to be "at oon assyse," i.e. of the one size (Wright). So size, an allowance of provisions (Lear), whence sizar at the University; and vulgar Eng. the sizes for the assizes. Compare old Eng. say, a trial, for assay; and seth (Fabyan) for asseth, assets.

An old version of Vegecius speaks of two kinds of darts, " one of the more assise [zz greater size], the other of the lesse" (in Way, Prompt. Parv. p. 343). tiize, substantially the same word, It. sisa, for assisa, an assizing, settling, or fixing (of colours, Ac), that which makes them he close (Lat. assidere). Bee Skeat, s.v. Where Life still Hues, where God his Sises

holds [Marg. Assises.]

Enuiron'd round with Serapbins.

J. Sylvester, Du ISartas, p. 42.

Solan-ooose contains a latent article, solan (formerly also solan-d) respresenting Icel. suhx-n, i.e. "the-gannet," sula (gannet) + n (the), the article being suffixed as is usual in the Scandinavian languages; e.g. Icel. tunga-n, "the tongue." Compare Shetland sooleen, "the sun," from Dan. sol-en, the-sun, (■en zz the).—Skoat. So Swed. trad, tree, is a corruption of ira-et, "thewood."

As numerous as SnUtnd geese
1' th' inlands of th« Orcades.

5. Butler, Genuine lif mains, ii. 107,1. 92
(ed. Clarke;.

Spaeaous, spcrage, and sparrow-grass, stand for Lat. asparagus, the initial a boing dropt, perhaps from being mistaken for the indef. article.

Spbee, a prov. Eng. word for a frolic or jollification, is no doubt from Welsh asbri, a trick, mischief, understood as a sbri (Philolog. Soc. Trans. 1855, p. 289).

Starling, or Sterling, an old name for a coin (see p. 371), stands for Esterling or Basin-ling, originally a term applied to the Eastphalian traders, who were famed for the purity of their coin.

Storshon Zz a (n)('a)sturtium!—East Anglia, B. 20, E. D. Soc.

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Tabis (Fr.), a kind of <HU- cor "tabby," It., Sp. and Portg. tabi. are from Arab, attdbi, the initial syllabi? having been dropt, probably because mistaken for the article al, "which becomes at before t. 'Attdbi was originally the name of the quarter of Bagdad where the stuff was manufactured (Devic).

Tats (Fr.), tinfoil, an incorrect form of Vetain, understood as le tain.

Tansy, a plant-name, old Ft. rainjv, stand for atansy, old Fr. athanasie. It atanasia (from Lat. and Greek atkattisia, immortality, so called perhaps from its durable flowers, like Fr. immcrtdki; compare amaranth, from, Greek Ojmrdntos, unfading). The initial a was perhaps dropt from being confused with the article, as if a tansy, la t/*dnasie.

Tassan, \ Irish place-names, owe Tummery, L their initial < to the Toraoh, ) article an, after which it is inserted before a vowel, and stand respectively for Irish an-t-assan, "thewaterfall," an-t-iomaire, "the-ridge," an-t-iubhrach, " the-yew-land " (Joyce, i.29).

Taylot, a Gloucestershire word for a hay-loft, is no doubt merely th' hayloft or thaylofi. So a writer in Th Gentleman's Magazine, August, 1777, who also quotes tovel as a Derbyshire word for a hovel, t'.e. th' hovel, f horel; tierne cross (Somner) for the iron cross.

1 . . . determined to sleep in the taUti awhile, that place being cool and airy, aad refreshing with the smell of sweet hav.— Btarkmore, Lorna Dooue, ch. xxxi.

Teogia, a dialectic Italian word for a hut, Grisons tegia (tliea), a chalet, from Lat. attegia (Diez), the initiaJ

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Towel having been absorbed by the article.

Thaxted, a place-name in England, is probably The Axstead, and Thistleworth, The Istle-teorth, says I. Taylor, Words and Places, p. 384.

Thebes, in Egypt, Greek Thibai, Copt. Thaba, Memphitic Thapi, are from Egyptian Tape, i.e. t (fem. article) -f dpi, head, and so means " the capital " (Bawlinson's Herodotus, ii. 4).

The Vizes, the popular form of the name of the town Devizes in Wiltshire. "Ner the Wizes" is said to have been the direction of a letter that passed through thePostOffice, meaning "Near Devizes " (W. Tegg, Posts and Telegraphs). Camden has "the Vies " (see Nares, s.v.), evidently a corruption of De Vies. Compare the following, where the gre is a mistake for degree :— I.(ike also bou skorne no mou, la what be ere bou Be hym gon.

The linkers Book, p. 15, 1. 66. While the proud Vies your trophies boast And unrevenged walks Waller's ghost.

Hudibras, Pt. I. ii. 498. Devizes is said to be a corruption of Low Lat. Divisce (I. Taylor, Words and Places, p. 267).

Tire, an ornament for the head, is for atire or attire, old Eng. " a-tyre, or tyre of women."—Prompt. Parv. See Tribe, p. 394. Compare ray for array, and parel for apparel.

I ha' but dight ye yet in the out-dress,

And 'purely of Earine.

B. Jonson, Sad Shepherd, ii. 1.

Tone, ) the tone and the tother,

Tothee, i frequent in old and prov. English for "theone" and "the other," stand for old Eng. thet one, thet other. where thet is Mod. Eng. that, the final t being the sign of the neuter gender (Skeat). A corresponding mistake in Latin would be i daliud, illu daliud for id aliud, illud aliud. Compare Nale.

The tan and the tother are often found in Scotch law papers.

pat on is Saint Peter and pat oier Seint Andreu.— Old Eng. Homilies, 2nd Ser. p. 175.

He schal hate oon, and loue the tothir.— Wyctiffe, Luke xvi. 13.

Wan 1 by meit for money I selle he money pat be toper man bieb, as I bye bing bat be

toper sellib.—Apology for Lollards, p. 9 (Camden Soc.).

In entent of chaunging to gidre be toon for he toper.—Id. p. 53.

Had not the Angell thither directed the Shepheards; had not the Star thither pointed the Magi, neither tone nor tothir would ever there have sought Him.—Andreues, Sermons, fol. p. 110.

Topaz, Fr. fopase, Lat. topazus, topazion, Greek j-o7r«£oc, rairaCiov. The origin of this word has not been traced. I think it probable that the Greek word originated in a coalescence of the article with the substantive, and stands for To TraSwv, which was the more likely to occur as the latter was a foreign word, borrowed from the Hebrew, viz. pdz (iD), pure gold, also translated

a "precious stone" in the Septuagint. The topaz has frequently been called the "golden stone" on account of its colour, and is identical with the chrysolite, Greek Xpv"o\i9oc, "golden stone," Rev. xxi. 20 (see Bib. Diet. s. vv. Topaz, iii. 1563, and Beryl, Appendix, xxx.; Delitzsch, Song of Songs, p. 104). The Septuagint actually renders Heb. pdz in Ps. cxix. 127 (A. V. "fine gold"), by roiraZiov, topaz (Prayer Book, v. "precious stone "), where Schleusner proposed to resolve the word into To ir6X,wv. For the agglutination of the article, compare tapanta, used by Petronius for "universe," which is merely Greek ra iravra; and olibanum, the frankincense of commerce, which appears to be Greek o \ijiavoc (Bible Educator, i. 374; Bib. Diet. i. 633); tautology from Greek ravToKoyia, i.e. To-avro-Xoyia, " the-same(thing)-saying." For the meaning compare besides chrysolite, Welsh eurfaen (i.e. eur-macn), "gold-stone," and the following:—

The gold color in the Topaze gaue it the name Chrysolith.—Holland, Plmies Nat. Hist. ii. 630.

The golden stone is the yellow topaz.— Bacon, Natural History.

To blasoune therin vertuys stanis, gold Is

More precious than oucht that ma be set. In it bot stonne gotdy, as thopusis.

Scotch Poem on Heraldru,l. 73 [Book of Precedence, E.E.T.S. p. 96.]

Pliny mentions the report of King Juba that this stone was first brought from an island called Topazas in the Bed

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Sea, which is probably a fiction with a view to bring it into connexion with Greek roira&iv, to aim at or guess.

The which is oftentimes so mistie that sailers haue much ado to find it, whereupon it tooke that name: for in the Troglodytes language (saith he) Topaiin is as much to say, as to search or seek for a thing.—Hoiland, Pliniei Nat. Hist. ii. 618.

So thurlepole, quoted in Nares (ed. Halliwell and Wright) as one of the "great fishes of the sea," from Castell of Health, 1595, evidently stands for Ui hurlpole or th' whirlpool, the old name of a species of whale. See further under Whirlpool, p. 434, where thurle jiolle is quoted from Russell's Boke of Nurture.

It may be further noted that roiraZoc is a rare word in Greek, and that other names for precious stones in that language are of Semitic origin, having no doubt been introduced by Phoenician merchants, e. g. facra-ic, jasper, Heb. ydshpheh; aamptipoc, sapphire, Heb. eappir. , Compare Pusey, On Daniel, p. 646 (3rd. ed.).

Tuilm, a Gaelic name for the elm (Shaw), is no doubt for an-t-uilm, the elm, where the t belongs to the article. Compare Ir. uUm, ailm, ehn.zzLat. ulmus (Pictet, i. 221).

Tyburn, west of London, was originally Teybourne (Stow) or Th'Eybourne, i.e. "the Eye bourn," named from the little river Eye or Aye, which also has given its name to Hay Hill, formerly Aye Hill; Ebury, the "bury" on the Eye, the old name for Pimlico, surviving in Ebury Street; and perhaps Hyde Park for Heye Park. (See Stanley, Memoirs of Westminster Abbey, pp. 8, 195.)


Umpire, old Eng. an oumpcr or owmpere, an incorrect form of a nowmpere, or nompeyrc, from old Fr. nompair, odd (Cot-grave), hat. non par, not equal; as if we wrote onpareil for nonpareil. An umpire is properly an odd man, or third party, chosen to arbitrate between two litigants, and who standing apart from either side (cf. Lat. sequester, from

8CCU8) will indifferently minister justice. The correct form would be suspire. Compare for the loss of n, "es vmbre hale."—Cursor Mundi, L 419 (Fairfax MS.), for "a number hale' (Cotton MS.).

An ovmper, impar.—Cath. Anglieum. Nowmpere or owmpere, Arbiter, sequester. —Prompt. Pare.

C'hese a marde to be nompere to put the quarrell at ende.—Test, of lame, i. 319 [hr whitt].

Robyn be ropere • arose bi pe soothe And nempned hym for a noumptreptX Do

debate nere, For to trye bis chaffare • bitwixen hem bre. Vision of P. Plowman, B. v. 3.S (ed. Skeat).

Sylvester says that spirits—

'Twixt God and man retain a middle kirnle: And (Vmpires) mortall to th' immortall k>v«. Du Bartas, p. 177 (users.

With this meaning of the word as a third party called in to arbitrate when two disagree, compare the synonymous usages, Scot, odman or odismcm, one having a casting vote (Jamieson); overman or oversman (Veitch, Poetry cf Scot. Border, p. 307); thirdsman (Scott, St. Bonan's Well); Cumberland thirdman, an umpire (Dickinson); Sp. terccro (from tertius), a thirdman, a mediator, terciar, to mediate (Stevens): Fr. enticrcer, to sequester or put into a third hand (Cotgrave), Low Lat. iWertiarc (Spelman, Du Cange).

Uscignuolo (It.), the nightingale, for luscignuoh (Lat. luscinia), understood as il uscignuolo.

Vails, profits accruing to servants, is from old Eng. avail, profit, no doubt misunderstood as avail, and afterwards used in the plural.

You know your places well; When better fall, for vourotuib thev fell. Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends' Well iii. 1, 22.

Valanche (Smollett), and voile*}', occasional forms of avalanche (Davfes, Supp. Eng. Olossai-y), apparently understood as a val-anche.

Vambrace, I English forms of Fr. Vancodrieb, J- avant-bras, armourfor Vanguard, ) the arm (Cotgrave .

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avant-coureur, and avant-garde, the initial a being in each case probably mistaken for the indefinite article. Compare Vamp, p. 420, for avampe.

Venture has originated in a misunderstanding of the old word adventure aa a venture, Fr. avenfure, from Low Lat. adventura, a thing about to come or happen, and so an uncertainty. The original and proper form of the phrase at a venture was at avenfure. See Eastwood and Wright, Bible Wardbook, s.v.

But at aventure the instrument I toke,
And blevreso loude that all the toure I shoke.

S. Hawes, Pastime of Pleasure, can. xxvi. p. 115 (Percy Soc.).

The enemies of auentun ruune against theyr engines. — Hall, Chron. 1530, Hen. V. p. 16 b.

He was some hielding Fellow, that had stolne The Horse he rode-on: and v pon my life speaker at uduenture.

Shakespeare, 2 Hen. IV. i. 1 (1. 39), 162.'!.

[The Globe ed. here has " spoke at a venture."]

A certain man drew a bow at a venture.A. V. 1 Kings xxii. 34.

Compare a vantage for a(d)vantage:— Therefore to them which are young, Salomon shews what a vantage they have above the aged.—H. Smith, Sermons, 1657, p. '216.

Vangeijste, a frequent old Eng. form of evangelist, understood probably as a vangehst. Wycliffe has vaiigelie (1 Tim. i. 11) for evangel or gospel. So old Eng. lowance for allowance; rithmeiique (B. Jonson) for arithmetic; ringo (Howell) for eringo.

Sayn Mathew the wungelisie.

En£. Metrical Homilies, p.31 (ed. Small).

Vow stands for the ordinary old Eng. avow or avowe (Prompt. Perm), frequently in texts misprinted a vow, a derivative of old Eng. avowen, old Fr. arower, from Lat. advolare. "This avotv."Chaucer, 0. Tales, 2416; "[He] perfourmed his arrows." Legcnda Aurea, p. 47 (Way).

A-wowyn, or to make arrow, Voveo.— Prompt. Parv. I make myne avoue verreilly to Cryste.

Morte Arthure, 1. 308.

Compare beatilles, an old culinary word for the giblets of fowl (Bailey, Wright), representing Fr. abatis. So tender, a small vessel attendant on another, is properly attender, evidently mistaken for a tender.

Vowtre, frequently found in old writings for avowtry, adultery, old Fr. avoutrie. See Advowtet, p. 3.

bat man how [ = ought] to curse for crime of voictre.Apology for Lollards, p. 21 (Camden Soc.).

On slep pr oper bi. . . vowtrand or doing a vowtri.Id. p. 87.


Whittle, an old word for a knife (Shakespeare), whence whittle, to run away, is a corruption of old Eng. thvAtel (from A. Sax. pwitan, to cut), perhaps mistaken for tit witel, "the wittle." Lancashire thwittle, a knife (E. D. Soc). Compare riding for thriding, i.e. thirding, the third part of a county.


Substantives ending in -s, -M, or -ce, which consequently either in sound or form simulate the appearance of plurals, are often popularly mistaken as such, and constructed with verbs in the plural. I have observed a class of Sunday School children in repeating their collect almost unanimous in thinking it due to grammar to say "forgiving us those things whereof our conscience are afraid."

Handle Holme, on the other hand, has "Innocence Day" (Academy, p. 181, 1688) for Innocents' Day. The claimant in the Tichborne trial, when questioned incidentally about "the Marseillaise" replied that he did not know "them."

Even the most correct speakers will not hesitate to say, "Where riches are, some alms are due." In some instances popular errors of this kind have so far reacted on the form of the word that new singulars have been evolved to correspond to the imaginary plural. Hence such words as a pea, a cherry, for a peace, a cherries, slierry for sherris, &c.

Instances of the contrary mistake, plurals being turned into singulars, are not wanting. Implements consisting of two inseparable parts, though plural in form, are generally treated as singulars, e.g. a bellows, a pincers, a scissors, a tongs.

In Middlesex, a habs or haps, used popularly by the common folk for a painful sore or gathering, is evidently an imaginary singular of the pluralsounding word abscess (Cockneyce habsccss). At different times I have

heard the sentences, " My daughter ha? a habs in her jaw ;" "My husband has a bad haps under his arm."

So rice (old Fr. ris) was once taken for a plural:

Nyra rip, and leae hem, and wasch kes clene.— \\'arner, Antiq. Cutin. p. 39.

Li zozo, a bird, in the Creole patois of Mauritius, is from Fr. les oisewz sounding to the ear as Ze S«'*',j« (AtfietKeum, Dec. 31, 1870, p. 889). In the same dialect zot, another (for' Void'), is from Fr. Us aulres.

In the Hebrew of Job v. 5, the word izammim, an intriguer, having all the appearance of a plural (like our aim or riches), has actually been so taken by the Targumist, who renders it "robbers" (Delitzsch, in loc).

These various irregularities have in fact arisen from a misguided endeavour to be regular, and they furnish curious examples of what may be termed the "pathology " of grammar (Philog. Sec. Trans. 1873-4, p. 259).

Aborigine, sometimes ignor&ntly used as a singular of aborigines, Lat. aborigines, a word found only in the plural.

An aborigine of Home region not far removed from the equator.—Church Record (DublinV, Dec. 1869, p. 18.

To the European sense of right they united the desperate energy of the abori-itu. —The Standard, July 18, 1882, p. 5.

Similarly relic is a word, like "remains," originally employed only in

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