1. WiltChamberlain

    WiltChamberlain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1

    Very Weird Rare Archaic Words

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by WiltChamberlain, Oct 5, 2017.

    Hi, all these words supposedly mean "previously": aforetime, ere now, erst, erewhile, beforetime, ultimo, agone …

    1. Of all of those listed, which is the least archaic or least awkward-sounding to the modern ear?

    2. Is "thitherto" the same thing as "hitherto?" Or is the former the past tense of the latter? Thanks. Don't know anyone from the 1800's and no English majors in my family.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    12,388
    Likes Received:
    20,041
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Honestly, I think they all suck and wouldn't use any of them. "Erstwhile" is a good word that I use often, though. Looks like it might be a modern formation or combination of "erst" and "erewhile." Maybe "agone" too. Might use that one if it fit some kind of theme or cadence, but it would be hard to use it over "bygone."
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  3. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    5,864
    Likes Received:
    10,738
    Location:
    The great white north.
    Hitherto means up until this time/place. Thitherto means moving towards that moment/place.
     
  4. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,419
    Likes Received:
    3,884
    Location:
    SC, USA
    'Aforetime' and 'beforetime' are fairly self-explanatory; I don't think people would trip over them too hard. I like 'agone' too but Homer has a point - 'bygone' would be easier and more familiar.
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  5. WiltChamberlain

    WiltChamberlain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi, thanks for the invaluable responses so far. I just wanted to give a little context, as I don't know if it makes a difference. "Previously" would be used as follows: "I crossed the previously unexplored jungle …" Could "bygone" be used in such a way?
     
  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    5,864
    Likes Received:
    10,738
    Location:
    The great white north.
    To me, bygone has the connotation that it no longer exists. Bygone friends and family refer to dead loved ones and a bygone era refers to a time that can't be revisited. If you said 'I crossed the unexplored, bygone jungle,' I would assume the jungle perished before man had found it and you were now crossing some sort of desert littered with petrified stumps.
     
    Wreybies and BayView like this.
  7. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,419
    Likes Received:
    3,884
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I don't think so, no, and I'm not sure that the rest could, either. Not an expert, but "the agone / beforetime / etc unexplored jungle" doesn't sound right to my modern ear. Possibly they had a different exact meaning way back when, but if I came across that phrase I would think it was wrong.

    I think 'heretofore' works in that context, though.
     
  8. WiltChamberlain

    WiltChamberlain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1
    The reason I can't, or would rather not, use previously, heretofore, hitherto, or formerly is because I have used them all … well, previously. I hate reusing words in the same piece. Thus the search for a new one. How about, as suggested earlier, "an erstwhile unexplored jungle?" Does that work? Thank you.
     
  9. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    5,864
    Likes Received:
    10,738
    Location:
    The great white north.
    Yes.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,261
    Likes Received:
    13,082
    I find this strategy worrying. Thesaurus-mining is often a great deal worse than reusing a word.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,462
    Likes Received:
    11,689
    I wasn't familiar with "ultimo" and when I looked it up I found it means "of last month". So it definitely wouldn't fit your usage and it does seem to highlight @ChickenFreak 's concern about over-dependence on a thesaurus. It's really not the right word for the job, and how many other not-right words may slip in if you're learning vocabulary from a thesaurus instead of from encountering the words in usage?
     
    izzybot and The Dapper Hooligan like this.
  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Lying, dog-faced pony Marine Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    18,851
    Likes Received:
    35,472
    Location:
    Face down in the dirt
    Currently Reading::
    Telemachus Sneezed
    I agree with @ChickenFreak, pulling up odd words for their own sake is going to lead to ugly, unnatural English. "Erstwhile," to me, has a feeling of not only being past, but temporary. As long as you're not using "previously" more than once in the paragraph, or perhaps on the page if you want to be extremely careful, you should be fine.

    Sometimes the right word for the job is just right word for the job.
     
    izzybot likes this.
  13. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    5,864
    Likes Received:
    10,738
    Location:
    The great white north.
    While I agree with the points about thesaurus mining, if someone's trying to emulate a style or are just trying to work outside their comfort zone I don't think that's something we should dissuade them from. Sure, there's a chance that the final piece may not be that great, but there's really no better way to learn how to write and use words than by writing and using words.
     
    Bill Chester likes this.
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    17,943
    Likes Received:
    27,188
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    To the best of my recollection even the Count of Monte Cristo did not
    use such obscure vocabulary (it has been a decade or so since I have
    read it mind you.)
    While I would say use the the words that work, and if possible read
    books actually written in the time period that you are writing about
    to get a feel for what you should use in your own work. :)
     
  15. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,420
    Likes Received:
    1,991
    There's also the cultural issue of "previously unexplored jungle"; it's more than likely the natives have explored it pretty well. It's a bit like Columbus "discovering" America. He wasn't even the first man there, let alone the first life-form.

    So, if you're taking this colonial viewpoint, I see no problem with using any of the other words...if they mean what you want (see below for that qualification). Except that the colonisation of Africa by European nations was in the late 19th century; the works of Conan Doyle, Wilde, Shaw or H.G.Wells would give you a flavour of what English was like in that era.

    ... all these words supposedly mean "previously":

    aforetime.
    = At a former or past time; previously.

    Ere now
    =formerly, heretofore.

    erst
    =long ago; formerly.

    erewhile
    1. =a while before; some time ago.
    beforetime
    =Previously; formerly.

    ultimo
    =Of last month.

    agone

    adjective
    • Ago. Now only following the noun (signifying the period elapsed).
      • adverb
    • ago. Chiefly with long.

    So, while all of them refer to a time before, not all of them mean previously; in particular ultimo, which refers to a very specific time period before the present. The rest have different flavours of meaning; I'd suggest that most of them could refer to any time up to yesterday, whereas agone refers to decades before.
     
    WiltChamberlain likes this.
  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,261
    Likes Received:
    13,082
    Can you clarify why you need to express the concept so many times? If it's already been made clear that the jungle is unexplored, then can't it just be "I crossed the jungle..."?
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    22,669
    Likes Received:
    25,963
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Forsooth, I declare that Homer speaketh with great verity
     
    Homer Potvin and Iain Aschendale like this.
  18. Radrook

    Radrook Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    335
    The word "twain" meaning "two" might be archaic but I enjoy using it now and then as I enjoy using the word "umbrage" . They have a sound to them that I find charming,
     
  19. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    5,864
    Likes Received:
    10,738
    Location:
    The great white north.
    I like 'asunder.'
    The vision of her torn asunder turned my phlematic humours vile and bileous.
     
    izzybot and Radrook like this.
  20. Radrook

    Radrook Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    335
    I agree, especially when it's pronounced "athunder" which lends even more power to it.
     
  21. WiltChamberlain

    WiltChamberlain Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    1
    Certainly. This is the first time I am using one in reference to the jungle. All the other times such words were used have been in reference to stuff unrelated to my jungle frolicking. Thank you everyone for the thoughts. I have a lot to consider and it will all be taken under advisement.
     
  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,261
    Likes Received:
    13,082
    I suppose it depends on the goal. But for me, I don't ever want to use a word that I just discovered in the thesaurus. I may use the thesaurus to find a word that I already know but didn't think to use, or I may dance around the thesaurus reading synonym and antonym lists to see different ways to express myself about a concept. And I will sometimes look up a word to see if I'm missing any nuances. (I just looked up accoutrement, yesterday, to be sure that my vibe was right.)

    But collecting a brand new word still in the cellophane and unwrapping and plugging it right into my work is something I'm not going to do.

    (Now I look at "cellophane" and wonder if its day is already past, and if that metaphor now requires "shrinkwrap", and if it does, I wouldn't use it, because cellophane is shiny crinkly delight in something fine and new, while shrinkwrap is dreary and utilitarian.)

    (Yes, my mind wanders today. I should probably write.)
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice