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the plural, old Eng. relikes, Fr. reUqucs, Lat. reliquias, ace. of reliquiae, relics.

Aoatk (for achate) stands for old Eng. achates, which was no doubt mistaken for a plural, but is really borrowed from Lat. and Greek achates, a stone named from the river Achates in Sicily near which it was discovered.

Onyx and achatis both more & lease.

Plaii of the Sacrament, Philog. Soo.
Trans. 1860-1, p. 110.
His stone and berbe as saitb tbe scole
Ben achates and primerole.

Gower, Can/'. Ainantis, iii. 130. Achate, the precious stone Achates.Cotgrave.

Alms, now always regarded as a plural because it ends in -s, so that it would be "bad grammar" to say "alms was given to the poor." It is really a singular, being the mod. form of old Eng. almes, or almesse, A. Sax. almesse, or CBlmcesse, which is merely a corrupted form of L. Lat. eUemosyna, from Greek Mlemfisune, pity (compare our " charity "). "Eleemosynary aid" is merely alms "writ large." Compare Aelmesse, p. 4. The A. V. is inconsistent in its usage :—

[He] asked an alms. —Acts iii. 3.

Thine aim* are come up for a memorial before God.—Id. x. 4.

Alms is a good gift unto all that give it.— Tobit iv. 11.

The alms of a man is as a signet with him. — Ecclus. xvii. 22.

Fruits, as it were, fastened on externally, alms given that they may be gloried in,

?rayers made that they may be seen.—Abp. VencA, Miracles, p. 3J6 (9th ed.).

Wycliffe's pun on almes and all-amiss shows how the word was pronounced in his time:—

be endowynge of be clergy wib worldly lordeachipe ow3t not to be callid almes, but rather alle a mysse or wastynge of goddis goodes.—Unpri'nted Eng. Works of Wyclif, p. 388 (K. E. T. S.).

But now borou bis perpetual alamysse bat be clerkis and religious folke callen almes, cristes ordenaunce is vndo.—Id. p. 389.

Anchovy is a corruption of an anchovies, or anchoves, Dut. "ansjovis, anchoves."—Sewel, 1708.

See above, p. 8.

Assets, a legal term and apparent plural, as when we say " no assets are

forthcoming," is only an Anglicized form of Fr. assez, sufficient (i. e. to discharge a testator's debts and legacies), old Eng. assetz (P. Plowman), from Lat. ad satis. The word, therefore, is not, as generally understood, plural, but singular.

The value of the tenant's right is an available asset against his debt to the landlord.— The Standard, July 22, 1882.

Old Eng. forms are aseth, asseth, aseeth (=: satisfaction), which appear to be fictitious singulars.

berfor make to god a-seep for synne .. . Many men maken aseeb bi sorrow of herte. — H uclift Unprinted Eng. Works, p. 310 (E. E. T. S.).

Ackoch. Dr. Latham mentions that he has met some instances of "an auroch" being used, as if the singular of aurochs (Diet. s.v. Bonasus)—a mistake pretty much the same as if we spoke of an oc instead of an ox, ochs being the German for ox.

It is strange to find an eminent philologer like Mr. T. L. K. Oliphant speaking of our fathers "hunting the auroch " (Old and Middle Eng. p. 13).

Axev (Prov. Eng.), the ague, is a feigned singular of access, mistaken for a plural, as if axeys. See Axey, p. 15, and Nabsy, p. 581.

The tercyan ye quartane or y= brynnyng axs. Play of the Sacrament, 1. till (Philolog. Soc. Trans. 1860-1).


Baize, a woollen stuff, now used as a singular, was originally a plural, viz. bayes (Cotgrave), plu. of bay, Fr. baye (Dan. bai, Dut. baai), originally, perhaps, cloth of a bay colour (Fr. bai). —Skeat, Wedgwood. Compare Fr. bureau (O. Fr. burel, 0. Eng. boreV), orig. coarse cloth of a russet colour, from Lat. burrus, reddish.

Baye . . . the cloth called bayes.Cotgrave.

Balance (Fr. balance, Lat. bi-lancem, "two-platter "), from its sounding like a plural and signifying two scales, is used by old writers as a plural. "A peyre of Ballaunce."—Drant (Morris, Accidence, p. 98).

Q Q.

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Reprooue our ballance when they are faultless. —Gosson, School of Abuse, p. 54. Are these bullunce here, to weigh the flesh. Merchant of Venice, iv. 1.

Barberry is a corruption of Fr. berberis, Low Lat. berberis, Arab, barbis (Skeat), perhaps understood as barberries, a plural. Compare heresy, O. Fr. heresie, from Lat. Iweresis, Greek hair/fsis, the taking up (of a wrong opinion), which is much the same as if analysy had been formed out of analysis, Greek analusis. Shenstone somewhat similarly uses arise (Fr. arise) for crisis. See Dose below.

Behold him, at some crise, prescribe
And raise with drugs the sick'uin>r tribe.
Progress of Taste, pt. iv. 1. 56.

Bellows, now used as a singular, was originally the plural of old Eng. below (Prompt. Parv.), a bag, another form of the old Eng. beli, bali, A. Sax. bmlig, a bag (Skeat). A bellows is properly a pair of leathern blow-bags joined together (Ger. blase-balg zz Lat. folks).

be deouel . . . mucheleS his beli bles.— Ancren Riwle, p. t96.

[The devil increaseth with his bellow(s) the blast.]

Bible, Fr. bible, Lat. bibUa, is the Greek/3i0Xi<z, books, the sacred writings, plural of piflXiov, a book. The Latin word was sometimes taken as a fern, sing, substantive. See Westcott, The Bible in the Church, p. 5; Smith, Bible Diet. i. 209.

Bioa, and quadriga, used by later Latin writers for a chariot, are in earlier writers properly plurals, bigce, long standing for bijugce, quadrijugoz (so. equm), a double yoke, or quadruple yoke, of mares drawing a chariot. For these and other plural forms in Latin, see Philog. Soc. Trans. 1867, p. 105.

Blouse, a smock-frock, Fr. blouse, is from old Fr. bliaus, which is the plural of bliaut, a rich over-garment (see Skeat, Etym. Did. s.v.).

Bodice, a stays, was originally a plural, the word being a corruption of bodys (Fuller), or " re pair of bodies" (Sherwood), i.e. the front and back body laced together. Compare dice for dies, and pence for pennies.

Sometimes with sleeves and bodies wide. And sometimes straiter than car bide.

Sam. Butler, Works, ii. 164, 1. 30 (ed. Clarke). With the plural bodices (zz bodies-a) compare odases used by Butler. Can tell the oddites of all lurks. And when to answer to their names. Sam. Butler, Works, ii. 155, 1. oo' (ed. Clarke). Like rooks, who drive a subtle trade, By taking all the oddses laid.

Id. ii. 286.

Brace, a pair, is the old Fr. brief:, "the two arms," from Lat. brachia, the arms, plu. of bracJiium, an arm (Skeat).

Bracken, coarse fern, is properly the old plural in -en (Mid. Eng. brakes, A. Sax. braccan) of brake (1, afem,^i>.— Prompt. Parv.; 2, a thicket), A. Sax. bracce, a fern. Thus bracken zz: brakes (see Skeat, s.v., and Prior).

Bree, a name for the gadfly in the Cleveland dialect and in N. English, from breese, A. Sax. briosa, brinua, Swed. and Dan. brems (Ger. brentee), the original word evidently having been mistaken for a plural. Similar corruptions are the following, given in Wright, Prov. and Obsolete Dictionary: Essex Hay, to blaze (as if Ways); chimy, B shift, from chemise (as if chimies); fumy, a furnace (as if furnies); Somerset may, B maze (as if mays); pray, a press or crowd, formerly spelt pi-ease (as if prays).

The learned write an insect breeze
Is but a mongrel prince of bees,
That falls before a storm on cows
And stings the founders of his house.
Butler, Hudihras, Pt. III. ii. 1. 4.

Breeches is a double plural (as incorrect as geeses would be) ; breech, 0. Eng. breche, brehe, A. Sax. brie, being already the plural of broc, just as 0. Eng. teeth (teeth) is of toih,fet (feet) of fbt, &o. So Icel. broiler is the plural of brok. See Breeches, p. 38.

Breche or breke, Braces;.—Prompt. Parv.
He dide next his whyte lere
Of cloth of lake fyn and clere
A breech and eek a sherte.

Chaucer, Sir Thopas, 1. 2049. The plural horses is a refinement on the old Eng. and A. Saxon, which has hors for both plural and singular, pretty

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much as if we were to speak of sheeps and deers. We still say a battery, &c, of so many horse. So acholde hors be drawe yn be same wyse. Trevtia, Morris and Skeat Specimens, ii. 239,1. 108.

Broccoli is properly the plural of It. broccoli, a small sprout (Prior), a dimin. of brocco, a shoot (Skeat). Compare Celery. The elder Disraeli has " a banditti," properly plu. of It. bandito, an outlaw {Calamities of Authors, p. 130).

Broth, in the provincial dialects, is frequently treated as a plural, e.g. " a few broth," "They broth is varry good."—Holderness dialect (E. Yorkshire)," They are too hot "(Cambridgeshire). This is perhaps due to a confusion with the synonymous words brewis, brose, old Eng. browes, broivesse, O. Fr. broues, which were used as plurals (Skeat). However, brose seems to be itself a singular, from Gael, brothas. Compare Porridge below.

Burial, formerly beriel, is a fictitious singular of old Eng. burials, bcryels, byrgele, which, though it looks like a plural, is itself a singular, A. Sax. birgels, a tomb. Compare old Eng. rebels, in cense, and Biddle and Shuttle below.

And was his holie lichame leid in burieUt in be holie Bepulcre, Mt men sechen giet in ierusalem.—Old Eng. Homilies, 2nd Ser. p. 21 (E. E. T. S.).

Prof. Skeat quotes "Beryels, sepulchrum."—Wright, Vocabularies, i. 178; and " An buryels."Robt. of Qlouc. p. 204.

Wycliffe is credited with having invented the quasi-singular form biriel (Matt. xxvii. 60), buriel (Mark vi. 29). See Skeat, Notes to P. Plowman, p. 430.

That bat blessed body ■ of buriels sholde aryse. Vision of P. Plowman, C. xxii. 146.


Capers, used as the name of a sauce, seems to have been properly a singular, capparis, the caper-shrub, in Wycliffe, taken directly from Lat. capparis,

Greek Mpparis, a caper-plant. The French have also made the word a singular, c&pre, O. Fr. cappre.

A locust schal be maad fat, and capparis schal be distried.— Wycliffe, Eccles. xii. 5.

Gerarde, while noting "it is generally called Cappers, in most languages; in English Cappers, Caper, and Capers" (Herbal, p. 749), himself uses the form caper.

Celery, Fr. clleri, from prov. It. seleri (Skeat), or "F which appears to be the plural oisellaro, sellers, a corruption of Lat. selinum, Greek selinon, a kind of parsley (Prior, Pop. Names of Brit. Plants).

So Fr. salmis seems to be a double pluralformed by adding s to salmi, from It. salami, salted meats, plu. of salame (Skeat).

Cherry is a corrupt singular of cheris, mistaken for a plural, but really an Anglicized form of Fr. cerise, from Lat. cerasus, a cherry-tree. Compare merry (the fruit) from merise, sherry from sherris, &c.

Cherubin, or cherubim, the Hebrew plu. of cherub, is often incorrectly used in old writers as a sing, making its plural cherubins or cherubims. Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin. Othello, iv. 2,1. 63. Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins. Merchant of Venice, v. i. 1. 62. Thou shalt make two cherubims of gold.— A. V. Exodus ixr, 18.

A fire-redcheruhinnes face.—Cant. Tales, 626. For God in either eye has placed a cherubin. Dryden, Poems, p. 511,1. 156 (Globe ed.).

Children is a double plural, formed by adding the old plural formative -en (as in oven, prov. Eng. housen, houses) to children or childer, which in old Eng., as still in prov. Eng. (e.g. in Lancashire and Ireland), is the plural of child (Carleton, Traits of Irish Peasantry, p. 219; Philolog. Soc. Proc. i. 115); A. Sax. children, infants, Childermass was the oldnameof Innocents' Day.

He sal say (;an, " Commes now til me,
My fadir blissed childer fre."
Hampole, Prick of Conscience, 1. 6148.

Myry tottyr, chtilderys game. Oscillum.— Prompt. Paro.

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Eave, sometimes incorrectly used as if the singular of eaves, which is old Eng. euese, A. Sax. efese, Icol. ups, an "overing" or projection. The plural is eaveses. Compare prov. Eng. easing for eavcsing.

Avant-toict, An house-caw, easing.—Cotgrave.

Scollops are osier twigs . . . inserted in the thatch to bind it at the eve and ringing. — W. Carltton, Trait* ami Stories oj Irish Peasantry, vol. i. p. 87 (1813).

Metal eave gutters at 2d. per foot.—Irish Times, Dec. 12, 1868.

Mousche, ... a spie, Eawe-dropper, informer.—Cotgruve.

Effioy, a modern formation from effigies (Lat. effigies), popularly mistaken as a plural, just as if scry were manufactured out of series, or conyery from congeries.

So does his effigies exceed the rest in liveliiie**, proportion, and magnificence.— Ward, London Spit, p. 170. As mine rye doth his effigies witness Most truly limn'd and living in your face. As You Like Zt, "ii. 7, 194.

Similarly specie, or specy, is sometimes popularly used instead of species, "This dog is a different specie from the French Dreed." Loud thunder dumb, and every speece of

storm, Laid in the lap of listening nature, hush'd. B. Jonson, Sad Shepherd, iii. 1.

flush, a flow, and Lane, floos, a sluice, and prov. Eng. fluke, waste cotton. Flue, a chimney passage, is a corruption of flute. Compare Fluke.

Fluke, or flook, a Scottish word for diarrhoea, is evidently an imaginary singular of flux (e.g. A. V. Acts xxviii. 8), understood as fluk-s, Fr.flux, Lat. flnxus, a flowing. Similarly prov. Eng. flick or fleck, the down of animals, has been formed from flix, the fur of a hare (Kent), akin to old Eng. flex, flax (Chaucer), A. Sax.fleax. I In warm brcii ill blows her flix up as ahe lies. Uruden, Annus Mirabilis, 132.

Frog ought, perhaps, etymologically, to be a frogs or froks, as we see by comparing its old Eng. form frosk, A. Sax.

frox,frosc, with Icel./?'osA-r, O. H. Ger.

frosc, Dut. vorsch, Ger. frosch, prov. Eng. frosh. It would be an analogous case if we had made a tug out of A. Sax. tux, tusc, a tusk or tush, or an og or och out of ox (Ger. ochi). The plural of A. Sax. frox is froxas. However, I find Prof. Skeat quotes an A. Sax.

froga. Can this he a secondary form evolved from frox after having hoen resolved into frocs or frogs?

Frosg, orfroik, a frog.—Peacock, Lonsdale Glossary.

Fubze, though now always used as a singular, e.g. "The furze is in bloom," seems to have been originally a plural, being spelt furres and furrys, and Turner in 1588 says, "Alii a furre nominant." Prof. Skeat, however, gives A. Sax. fyrs. Gerarde has furzes [Herbal, 1138).

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