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Dec 26, 2011
This week's theme
Archaic words

This week's words
mickle
inwit
reechy
aby
mazard

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Archaisms are grizzled old words that have continued to do their job despite their age even though they don't appear as much as they used to. They are old-fashioned but serviceable and that's the reason they still pop up from time to time.

They serve a purpose, to give an aura of an earlier period and evoke a sense of historical setting in novels, religious writing, poetry, ads, and so on. What's old for one is new for another, so there's no consensus as to which words are archaic. Before the new year begins, let's take a look at some of these old words.

mickle

PRONUNCIATION:
(MIK-uhl)

MEANING:
noun: A large amount.
adjective: Great, large.
adverb: Much.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old English micel (much). Ultimately from the Indo-European root meg- (great), which is also the source of magnificent, maharajah, mahatma, master, mayor, maestro, magnate, magistrate, maximum, and magnify. Earliest documented use: 9th c.

NOTES:
The word appears in the proverb "Many a little makes a mickle" and sometimes in its corrupted (and meaningless) form: "Many a mickle makes a muckle."

USAGE:
"While blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and resources, Chatham County is also burdened with the task of dealing with a mickle of vegetative waste."
Robert Drewry and Virginia Lamb; County Develops Yard Waste Program; Public Works Magazine (Chicago, Illinois); May 2000.

See more usage examples of mickle in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness. -George Sand [pen name of Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin], novelist (1804-1876)

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