Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 9.djvu/85

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ii s. ix. JAN. 24, i9i4.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


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^4 JVew English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

Edited by Sir James A. H. Murray. Sorrow-

Speech (Vol. IX.). By W. A. Craigie. (Oxford,

Clarendon Press, 5,9.)

THE total number of words contained in this sec- tion is 2,6-42, something more than 1,600 in excess of the greatest number recorded .by any other English dictionary within this alphabetical divi- sion. In the so portion native words predominate, as they also do, but much less markedly, in the sp portion.

The clear setting forth of the gradations from "sari" to "sorry" ought finally to dispose of the often-scotched popular notion that " sorry " comes from " sorrow." We fancy that the adoption of the double " r " has contributed as much as the vowel change towards the mistake.

The article "sort" is, on the whole, very good, and contains one or two specially neat defini- tions e.g.) that for the phrase "a sort of" ; but many of the idioms are poorly explained and illus- trated. Thus, for example, " of sorts" could have been made more interesting by a consideration of some of the material which our correspondents have lately furnished to our columns ; and "out of sorts " is not attempted to be accounted for. The first quotation for the latter goes back to the early seventeenth century. In the first part of this section public documents have been drawn upon more largely than usual for examples : thus we have from Rolls of Parliament,' vi. (1482), "that the Sam on shuld be wele and truly pakked and sorted in the same vessells." " Sorted out" has as its first instance a quotation from More, 1534. The compilers have not failed to notice Locke's abortive attempt to introduce " sortal " as a parallel term to "general." " Sot "of unknown origin, the Med. L. sottus being recorded from about 800 furnishes a short, but pithy article. In the sense of a drinker it seems to have been first used by Nashe. " Sot - weed " for tobacco was used appa- rently throughout the eighteenth century. " Sotie " is one of the most interesting of the foreign words. In its first sense as " foolishness " it was adopted by Gower and Caxton. Its later sense is that of a technical name for satirical farces in vogue in France during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The compilers have also found it in Gage (1648) as the English rendering of the Spanish "azotea," a terrace or flat roof. "Sotto voce" seems to have been first used by Chesterfield; "soubrette" (Fr. xoubret, coy, reserved) by H. Walpole.

A quaint indication of the influence of the eye in bringing in new words or reviving old ones is supplied by " sough" (sb. and v.). The word had died out of English before the sixteenth century, and was revived by the literary in the nine- teenth ; but though there was general agreement as to how to spell it, there was none as to how to pronounce it, and, common as it is in poetical writing, the Dictionary admits that it may be sounded to rime either with " ruff" or " plough." As its use is largely onomatopoeic, and consciously so, it seems odd that the sound has not been settled.

"Soul" (the ultimate etymology of which remains uncertain) is a highly interesting piece of work. The division dealing with " the three souls " vegetative, sensible, and rational is


particularly instructive. Considering the wealth of literature on the subject, it is amusing to seethe compilers have gone to The Daily News of 1899 for a quotation to the effect that " the soul was a little, bloodless, fleshless thing." Another quotation from the same source, "became something of a Soul," in which the capital letter seems to imply a special denomination, is the only reference we can, find to the famous " Souls " who played so promi- nent a part in the society of the late eighties and early nineties, and might as well have been noted as Aytoun's " Spasmodic school." The compounds with soul are numerous and well illustrated, "soul-scot" and "soul-shot," "soul-bell" and, " soul-mass," being among the best.

"Sound," again, is a very fine article, occupying,, with its derivatives, nearly twenty- two columns. It is immensely more expressive with the excres- cent "d," which established itself during the sixteenth century; but we are informed that a& late as 1582 Stariyhurst condemned this an instance of popular taste proving superior to that of the learned. Under "sounder," a herd of wild swine, the curious error is noted by which in Pope's ' Odyssey ' the word is used for a wild boar's lair. " Soup " affords some interesting collo- quialisms. The first quotation in which it is used in legal slang for briefs for prosecutions, with the fees thereto attaching, comes from The Law Times, 1856. One would like to know how long it had been established before that serious organ of the pro- fession took it up. The earliest example of " in the- soup" comes from Dakota (1889). Under "sour,"' though the ultimate origin of the word is uncertain,, its appearance in Slav languages, and the deriva- tion of the Fr. "sur" and "surelle" from the Germanic syllable, are interesting. A curious use of the word, which apparently survives in Midland dialect, is instanced from The London Gazette of 1713: "A strong, sower Horse," meaning a " coarse " or " heavy " animal. The " collocations," too, are worth study. The compilers have noted Udall's " olde ' soureswyg ' of Moses la we " from Erasmus. The obsolete uses of "source" afford something new. In the fourteenth century the word was used for "support" or "underprop"- then, and also later, it was used of the rise on the*

wing of a hawk, and of the rising of the sun

senses drawn from its origin, "sourdre." A short account, but notable for its quotations from out-of- the-way works, is that of " sourish."

"Souse," again, is a syllable which heads a careful collection and arrangement of instructive and entertaining instances. We were a good deal surprised at the definition given of " south " : "That one of the four cardinal points which is opposite the north." We know not whether this is due to some astronomical convention, but even in that case it seems a poor definition, a? d especially so when one considers that, for the ordinary, unastronomically practised person, the- identification of the south is so much more easy than that of the north. Under " sovereign " we have a separate division for the forms, which are very numerous, and set put herewith an admirable scholarly clearness. Milton's "sovran " adopted also by Coleridge and Lamb is treated as an in- dependent word, which, since it shows the deriva- tion more plainly than the usual form, might well be more generally adopted.

Another particularly good article is "space," which begins with "J>air faith lasted littel space/'