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Last week we looked at words that survive only as part of a familiar 'and' phrase. Now, dropping the ‘and’, we’ll see some that survive only in a longer word or phrase.

Our first word largely disappeared by the start of the 20th century, and has survived only as a part of the word overwhelm.

whelm1. to ruin or destroy by covering completely (typically with water, but also with earth, snow, etc.) 2. to similarly engulf or bear down upon (as flood, storm, avalanche) [closer to ‘overwhelm’)

I do like a another, older sense of this word: ‘to cover with a dish, bowl etc. turned concave side down’.
    … two powerful novels …, one alleging that the white man’s salvation depends on intermarriage with the negro, the other declaring that every possible precaution must be taken against the perdition in which such marriages would whelm the white race …
    – New York Times, Apr. 12, 1902
 
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Today’s fossil word can be an adjective or noun. It survives within two modern words, one for each of those two senses.

Fossil word: hoar1. adj.: grey or grey-haired, as with age 2. noun: hoarfrost (see below)

Surviving words:
hoarfrost (or hoar frost) – a grayish-white feathery or fernlike deposit of frost
hoary1. hoar (sense 1; adjective); grey 2. extremely old, and trite

Some good authorities say hoary, in the sense of ‘ancient’, is positive in sense (“so old as to inspire veneration”), but I agree with those who find in negative, as above. See quotes.
    On Thursday, when it starts to freeze
    And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees,
    How very readily one sees
    That these are whose--but whose are these?
    – W. T. Pooh, Lines Written by a Bear of Very Little Brain, in A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

    Their solution wasn't perfect, it was just better than the hoary alternative, rendering decisions by gut feeling.
    – Michael Lewis, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

    There is hoary joke among the clergy that describes a guided tour of heaven.
    – Peter J. Gomes, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus
I suppose I’d better tell the joke. The visitor sees the Baptists in one room dancing, which was forbidden on earth; the Methodists in another room drinking; … and the Roman Catholics in another large space enjoying guilt without sex [sic]. As they turn a corner and approach yet another large room, the guide says, “We must be quiet now; these are the Episcopalians, and they thing they’re the only ones here.”

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Oh, I do love that AA Milne!
 
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fangled – characterized by silly affectations or by peculiar notions

Even Shakespeare preferred new-fangled to plain old fangled (three usages vs. one), and nowadays you’ll rarely see fangled standing alone, without a prefix of new- or the like. Here are a few of those rare instances.
    I remember with fondness my own tricycle, capable of tremendous speed or so it seemed then, and because it was not fangled up by paid imaginations, it could be Pegasus, if I liked, and it was.
    – William H. Gass, Mrs. Mean

    That’s what you get for eddicating him so much. It's just what Mr. Allen tells me when I spoke about sending our Jim to high school. No, he says, none of those high-fangled schools for a son of mine. I wants ‘em to be workers, not loafers, he says; and he was right.
    – Eugene O'Neill, The Personal Equation (OK, so this one has a hyphenated prefix. So sue me!)

    Any Manhattan parent knows … the feeder nurseries, the résumé-stuffer ''Language for Tots'' classes at 6 months and the tricky mazes and shapes on the "E.R.B.," the required private preschool I.Q. test. You could see these fangled accouterments as an exploitation of our only constantly renewable natural resource, infancy.
    – New York Times, March 24, 2002
 
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fettle – condition or state [from the verb fettle, "to make ready, arrange"]

Interesting etymology. The verb fettle "to arrange" is from fetel "a girdle, belt" (!), which is in turn from *fat- "to hold" (!!!). I presume this is all in the same family as Old English fætt, which meant "to cram, stuff”.]

Fettle is familiar from in fine fettle. It’s almost always used in such positive-adjective phrases: in splendid fettle, in prime fettle, etc. Here are a few examples without the positive adjective (I can find none without the “in”):
    How to keep a large office force in fettle is a problem of unusual difficulty in these days of rush.
    – Forbes, Nov. 24, 2003

    If swarms of summer mosquitoes have put you in a hot, itchy fettle, let SOS Skin Accidents by Sanoflore come to the rescue.
    – New York Times, July 14, 2006
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Fettle is familiar from in fine fettle. It’s almost always used in such positive-adjective phrases: in splendid fettle, in prime fettle, etc.


Is this a British usage? I can't recall ever hearing this word, or any of these phrases.
 
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"Fine fettle" is reasonably common in UK English. Maybe a little old-fashioned nowadays but most people would know what it means


Richard English
 
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cahoots – collusion; questionable collaboration
[Origin? Some suggest French cahute, cabin; others say that in Middle-ages Germany, bandits near the Black Forest in shacks called kajuetes.]

Interrestingly, OED does not have this word. It's nearly always used in the phrase “in cahoots,” or the like (some rare exceptions are below), and I’m not sure that the word was otherwise used in the past.
    Nicklaus said … he and [Gary] Player would not be above "a little bit of cahoots trying to make the best theatre out of this".
    – The Age (Australia), Nov. 20, 2003

    Where Mason sees indifference or incompetence, Farrell sees cover-ups and cahoots.
    – Miami Herald, Sept. 26, 1993
 
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quote:
Is this a British usage? I can't recall ever hearing this word, or any of these phrases.



interesting.. this phrase seems to be a favorite of thriller novelists such as US'n Lawrence Sanders, to wit:

""You sound in fine fettle, Perce," I said.
"Fine fettle?" he said. "I got a fettle on me you wouldn't believe—a tough fettle, a boss fettle. I got me a sweet forty-eighter, and nothing and nobody is going to pry me loose until Monday morning.""
- fine fettle
 
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Today on the chat, Shu mentioned cranberry words, which I learned as bound morphemes. In the compound cranberry, cran is a bound morpheme because it does not occur other than in this form (link and link). An alternative word for cranberry is bogberry (link).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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cran is a bound morpheme because it does not occur other than in this form


you're gonna have to expand on this for me. cran certainly does appear on its own in Scots dialects (see Burns and Scott). are they beyond the pale?
also, if you perform the usual word origin black magic, it seems cran is related to crane.
 
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Yes, but cran meaning 'crane' doesn't exist. Unless that's its meaning in those Scots dialects. That's all.

We missed you at the chat.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Did you ever notice the weirdness of the word “woebegone”? It seems like you’re saying a command, “Woe, be gone!”, but that’s not its meaning.

Its story begins with a word that has been obsolete since about 1500. bego first meant “to go about, occupy, inhabit”, and then came to mean “to form one’s environment” or “to influence as one’s environment does”.
    1393: He was well begone … with faire doughters many.
    c1386: I was … rich and young and well begon. (Chaucer)
As you can see, it could be applied to good environments. But more and more usages were with bad ones, particular woeful ones, until its only usage was with “woe”. “Woe” plus “bego” started as two separate words (Chaucer: “So wo begone a thing was she.”); then a hyphenated word woe-begone, and finally as a single word woebegone.

woebegone1. (obsolete:) beset with woe; oppressed with misfortune, sorrow, etc. 2. showing distress, misery, anguish, or grief
    A procession was approaching – eleven Mice … No one has ever seen mice more woebegone than these. They were plastered with mud – some with blood too — and their ears were down and their whiskers drooped and their tails dragged in the grass, and their leader piped on his slender pipe a melancholy tune.
    – C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
 
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short shrift – rapid and unsympathetic dismissal; curt treatment

A very recent example:
    Twice in the last six months David Cameron has written to Gordon Brown challenging him to such a debate during the next election campaign. On both occasions he's received short shrift.
    – Sunday Mirror (UK) March 16, 2008
What is shrift? To shrive was an old religious term meaning to hear confession (or impose penance, or grant absolution). The noun shrift was the confession (the penace, the absolution), and one who had confessed and been absolved had been shriven.

It seems that when capital punishment was imposed, the authorities allowed the condemned man a last confession, but would not let him drag it out and dely execution. Short shrift meant a brief space of time allowed for a criminal to make his confession before execution. (Shakespeare, Richard III: “Make a short Shrift, he longs to see your Head.”)¹ From there short shrift evolved into its current meaning.


¹This is according to OED. To be fair, I should add that Quinion has slightly different slant, at least as I read the two.
 
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another very recent example:

"even 'abbacinare' gets longer shrift!"
-tsuwm, March 14, 2008 (here)
 
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I love threads like these Smile
 
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