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word. In the Metrical Psalter, before A.D. 1300, we find in the corresponding verse wite-word for testament, and bodes for maundemens. -et. A French diminutive form. Examples:—facet, floweret (Milton), hatchet, junket. An instance of its union with a Saxon word is latchet. Lynchet is a local word of Saxon origin which has taken this French facing. In the neighbourhood of Winchester and elsewhere along the chalk hills, it signifies “bank,’ “terrace,’ and it has been applied to those ledges which have the appearance of raised beaches. It is the old Saxon word hlinc, frequently used in Saxon charters for a boundary embankment, artificial or natural. So it gets attached to frontier wastes, as in the case of the Links of St. Andrews, Malvern Link, &c. In Cooper's Provincialisms of Sussex, a Link is defined to be “A green or wooded bank always on the side of a hill between two pieces of cultivated land.’ In Jenning's Glossary of the West of England, Linch is defined as ‘A ledge; a rectangular projection,' and here we have the form which was frenchified into lynchet. -ette. Examples:—marionette, mignonette, palette, rosette. -let. Examples: — armlet, bracelet, branchlet, kinglet, ringle!.
‘I have found it necessary to make a distinction between branches and branchlets, understanding by the latter term the lateral shoots which are produced in the same season as those from which they spring.”—John Lindley, A Monograph of Roses (1820), p. xxi.
In -age ; as baggage, burgage, carriage, cottage, language, lineage, message, passage, poundage, tonnage, vicarage, voyage.
These words had for the most part an abstract meaning in their origin, and they have often grown more concrete by use. The word cottage, as commonly understood, is concrete, but there was an older and more abstract use, according to which it signified an inferior kind of tenure, a use in which it may be classed with such words as burgage, soccage. The following is from a manuscript of the seventeenth century, one of the many things to which I have access by the kindness of Mr. Furnivall in sending me proofs of his Early English Text materials.
“The definition of an Esquire and the severall sortes of them according to the Custome and Vsage of England.
“An Esquire called in latine Armiger, Scutifer, et homo ad arma is he that in times past was Costrell to a Knight, the bearer of his sheild and helme, a faithfull companion and associate to him in the Warrs, serving on horsebacke, whereof euery knight had twoe at the least attendance upon him, in respect of the fee, For they held their land of the Knight by Cottage as the Knight held his of the King by Knight service.’—Ashmole MS. 837, art. viii. fol. 162.
A beautiful use of the word personage, in the sense of personal appearance, occurs in the Faerie Queene, iii. 2. 26:—
“The Damzell well did vew his Personage.’
Carriage now signifies a vehicle for carrying; but in the Bible of 1611 it occurs eight times as the collective for things carried, impedimenta. In Numbers iv. 24 it is a marginal reading for “burdens,’ which is in the text. In Acts xxi. 15, ‘We tooke vp our cariages,' is rendered by Cranmer (1539) “we toke vp oure burthenes,’ and in the Geneva version (1557) “we trussed vp our fardeles.’
It appears to be traceable to Italian influence, as is indicated in the Bible Word-Book of Eastwood and Wright. But chiefly it is remarkable as one of the very few instances in which an ephemeral expression got into the revision of 161 1, displacing more solid and permanent words.
Verbiage signifies a superfluity of words, or the excess of words over meaning in a discourse, or more generally, words without point. I asked a friend whether his speech had been fairly reported: “Well,' said he, “they have given the verbiage of what I said pretty faithfully.” Next to -age we naturally come to the form -ager, as in the French passager, messager, which has been altered in English to the form -enger, as passenger, messenger. With these must be classed the words in -inger, as harbinger, porringer, pottinger, wharfinger. Also wallinger, a term that is, or was, to be seen on the walls of Chester, in a tablet commemorative of repairs done to the city wall. The ‘wallingers’ were annual officers charged with the care of the wall. In the fourteenth century there was a public officer known as the King's aulneger, who was a sort of inspector of the measuring of all cloths offered for sale, and his title was derived from the French aulne, an ell; aulnage, measuring with the ell-measure *. This seems to be the best place for a word whose origin has been variously explained. A very great mediaeval word was danger, both in French and English. The reader of our early literature should not too readily assume that he has understood any passage in which this word occurs. At present the word is hardly to be distinguished from hazard, peril, risk, liability, exposure. A modern reader would not pause to doubt whether “Les dangers des bois’ could mean anything else than ‘The perils of the woods.” But it is thus defined by Cotgrave (1611):—‘The amerciaments, and confiscations adiudged vnto the King by the officers of woods, and forrests.’ In the early poems of gallantry, which were the staple of Belles Lettres in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and of which the ripest example is the Romaunt of the Rose, the term Danger is used constantly for the name of one of the allegorical personages. This name represents that person who, whether as father or husband or lover, has some superior right or title in the heroine of the moment. It resulted from the fundamental idea of these pieces, that such a person must be made odious, and accordingly he appears as a churl, a skulk, a spy, &c. Thus, in the Romaunt of the Rose, when the prospects of the rose-hunter are most flattering, we read, line 3015:— “But than a chorle, foul him betide, Beside the roses gan him hide, To keepe the roses of that rosere, Of whom the name was DAUNGERE: This chorle was hid there in the greves, Covered with grasse and with leves, To spie and take whom that he fond Unto that roser put an hond.’ It seems that the word must be derived from Dominus, which is represented by Dan-, as in ‘Dan Chaucer,’ &c. Thus Daunger or Danger would be equivalent to Dominicarius (Du Cange); and the Domigerium of Bracton must be taken as a mere latinized form of the word itself. Thus the word is apt to occur in the phraseology of escheats and forfeitures, as where Mr. Froude quotes an entry in the Records,
‘That on the 12th of July, 1568, the Earl of Desmond—acknowledging his offences, his life being in peril, his goods liable to forfeiture, and himself in danger to her Highness for the forfeiture of £20,000 by his securities— relinquished into her Majesty's hands all his lands, tenements, houses, castles, signeries, all he stood possessed of to receive back what her Majesty would please to allow him,' &c.—History of England, vol. x. p. 487.
In The Merchant of Venice, iv. 1, ‘You stand within his danger, do you not?' is equivalent to “You are in his power, are you not?’ And it is by the introduction of this word danger that the key-note is struck of that piece which is to
follow, on the quality of mercy. For Power and Mercy are natural correlatives. And this moral truth is worked into the habits of our phraseology; for it is much the same thing with us now to say that one is in another's power, or to say that he is at his mercy. The latter way of speaking was indeed first invented as a euphemism upon the former, but it has become equally harsh, perhaps rather the harsher of the two. One example this among thousands, that whatever may be the temporary complicity of language in dissimulation, no trick of words will ever compel it permanently to act as a cloak of hypocrisy. It has a way of recovering its honesty by the process of an open confession. We may indeed regret the degradation of noble expressions, but this effect, which is at first sight so disagreeable, is found to be the condition of preserving language from moral corruption.
This group has so marked a character that it seemed to deserve a place by itself, although it belongs in strictness to the next class in virtue of its final termination.
In -er, from the French -er and -ier. Of this suffix -ier, it is said by M. Auguste Brachet, in his Grammaire Historique, p. 276*, that it is “perhaps the most productive’ of all the French nounal forms. For in the first place, it is the constant form for expressing a man's trade. The Saxon form -ere had the same value, but it was swallowed up in the greater volume of this French form.
Examples:—baker, bookbinder, butcher, Fletcher, gardener, grocer, miller, Tucker, vintner. Already in Chaucer we have four of them in two lines:—
“An Haberdasshere and a Carpenter,
* At p. 184 of Mr. Kitchin's Translation, in the Clarendon Press Series, 1869.