Sunday, 12 August 2012

Entry: woebegone (adj.)

In context: "...a woebegone little marginal archaic desktop-pub.-looking thing..."

Definition‘Beset with woe’; oppressed with misfortune, distress, sorrow, or grief. Obs. or arch.


Etymology:  The construction out of which this word arose is illustrated by the quots. immediately following, in which an objective pronoun is governed by a complex verb phrase containing bego v. (q.v. sense 8) with woe n. as subject (me is wo bigon = woe has beset me) <

c1330   Amis & Amil. 2150   Me nas neuer so woe bigon, Yif thou it wost vnderstond! For..almost ichaue him slon.

c1405  (1395)    Chaucer Franklin's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 608   Noght wolde I telle yow how me is wo bigon But certes outher moste I dye or pleyne.

Subsequently a change of construction took place, parallel to the passing of me is woe into I am woe (see woe adj.), woe and begone becoming consequently so indivisibly associated as to form a compound.

In the following quot. there seems to be a blend of the old and new constructions:

1593   T. Watson Tears of Fancie xxxviii,   My hart doth whisper I am woe begone me.

SNOOT score: 1
Page: 1055

Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

No comments:

Post a Comment