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OBSOLETE TERMS.

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word-demoralize; and it is an indication of his sound judgment, both that he attempted the enterprise only once, and that he then succeeded so well. The most that have striven to manufacture words have failed to make them current. It is not an easy matter to induce a people to substitute new standards of measure or of money for the old. Still, new objects, new classifications, and new actions, render new words necessary. Usage itself must have a beginning, and this should not be left wholly to the ignorant. We have as good a right to new words, or to old words with new meanings, as we have to new thoughts.

37. When Allowable.-New terms must be introduced by writers on scienee and art so often as any new object or law is discovered. They should be introduced naturally and from necessity, not capriciously and presumptuously. Venders of quack medicines, and other pretenders to science, are continually attempting to introduce new words to describe their nostrums or notions, such as sozodont, abracadabra, and thousands of others, not one of which has passed into reputable usage. The startling effect produced by a new word is generally soon lost, and followed by disapprobation, as a person arraying himself in uncouth garments may attract attention for a moment, but will not be admitted into good society.

38. Obsolete and Obsolescent Words should generally be avoided. The fact that they are obsolete, or indeed obsolescent, indicates either that they are useless, or that for some reason they have been displaced by others. Attempts to revive the use of a forgotten

word are usually failures. "Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing" is not understood by the people, lying being now substituted for leasing. Wot" for knew, "took up our carriages" for took up our luggage, and some other expressions, are instances of terms in the common translation of the Bible that are now obsolete. They can not easily be revived.

In personating a character who is supposed to have lived in a preceding age, it would be proper to represent him as speaking the language common in his time, or at least to use many characteristic terms, to aid in the illusion. Thus Thomson, in his "Castle of Indolence," imitating the style of Spenser, introduced many obsolete terms.

The attempt by some modern poets to revive the use of forgotten words will be nugatory. As "revolutions seldom work backward," so the tide that bears a word toward oblivion seldom has an ebb.

39. Words should be used in their Modern Meaning.Words that have changed their signification should be used in their modern meaning. Prevent once signified go before; now it has a meaning that no other word exactly expresses. Let is no longer needed in the sense of hinder, as it was once employed.

40. Degeneracy of Words.-Many words have degenerated in value, and it is impossible to restore them to their former honor. Thus by-and-by once meant immediately: "Which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by-and-by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?" (Luke xvii. 7).

WORDS CHANGE IN MEANING.

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Presently also once had the same meaning. Thus Shakspeare writes: "My lord, the queen would speak with you and presently "-meaning now; and the reply is, "Then will I come to my mother by-and-by" (Hamlet, act iii. scene 2).

Though words do thus change their usage, in some instances degenerating in value, and in others rising in importance, good scholarship is often exhibited by restricting a word, as far as possible, to its ancient meaning. By this mark a speaker skilled in the ancient languages may often be distinguished from one ignorant of them.

Words have a history, and some of them a rich history. Jovial was once "suitable to Jove," it is now degraded to merry; saturnine was once mysterious and profound, now it is gloomy; "animal spirits," "humorous," and "vapors" suggest a theory of physiology long since discarded, but words often survive the theories that invented them.

CHAPTER X.

FURTHER DIRECTIONS UPON THE CHOICE OF
WORDS-Continued.

41. Provincialisms. - PROVINCIALISMS should be avoided, or sparingly and discriminately employed. Some words are used in confined localities, and are unknown elsewhere. If they are substituted for other well-known words in the language, they should be discarded. If they express objects or customs peculiar to that locality, they should be tolerated and rendered respectable. There is no particular reason why a waistcoat in England should be called a vest in America, or why trowsers, railway, autumn there, should be styled here respectively pantaloons or pants, railroad, fall:* and yet so numerous is the population in America that her peculiarities of speech promise to become permanent and the rule, while in some instances the older and perhaps purer English will become obsolete, even in England. The word clever in England signifies intelligent, intellectual, and able to succeed; in the United States it is often used to mean generous, amiable.

42. Americanisms.-It is often assumed that Amer

* Used occasionally in Scotland (see Beattie's Life of Thomas Campbell, vol. i. p. 200).

VULGARISMS.

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icans use many provincialisms, which have been called "Americanisms," though, in fact, no people use so few. Many of the inaccuracies that have been styled Americanisms have been imported, but have here obtained larger currency than at home, and are here oftener seen in print. There are of course some peculiar expressions, and always must be, of native origin. The constant tendency in language to change, is introducing new forms of expression, all of which are provincialisms at first. From the multitude of newspapers in this country, and the ease with which almost any one may "see himself in print," colloquialisms and slang terms which finished scholars would never repeat, are frequently printed. All such corruptions of language should be discountenanced. Thus calculate is sometimes used for intend, reckon and presume are substituted for think by persons who seldom think closely, or they would use words more accurately.

43. Vulgarisms.-Vulgarisms are words and phrases which, from their origin or general use, have a tendency to excite low and mean associations. "You can see with half an eye," "Go it blind," are instances. Similar to these are hackneyed words or phrases, sometimes called catch-words, which arise in particular places where a company of persons pursuing the same course are associated together, such as armyphrases, college-words, sailors' expressions, all of which should be sedulously excluded from dignified addresses or writings.

44. Words used erroneously for Others similar in

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