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Never, 1) not ever, at no time: Ven. 17. Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 Ven. 17 1119 etc. etc. “n. is my day,” Troil. IV, 5, 52 (cf. the Germ. Nimmertag). n. more == no more in future, never again: mine appetite I n. more will grind on newer proof, Sonn, 110, 10. “and n. more abase our sight so low,” H6B I, 2, 15. “but n. more be officer of mine,” Oth. II, 3, 249. Contracted to “ne'er:” Ven. 99. Ven. 99 Ven. 99 Ven. 99 Sonn. 17, 8. Pilgr. 238. Tp. II, 1, 111. III, 3, 26. IV, 76. Gent. IV, 4, 65. Wiv. I, 1, 186. Meas. III, 1, 143. V, 184. Err. III, 1, 45. III, 2, 182. V, 48. 210 etc. (As for the use of the indef. article, see A).
Compounds (not hyphened in most O. Edd.): “n. conquered,” Lucr. 482. “n. daunted,” H4B I, 1, 110. “n. dying,” H4A III, 2, 106. “n. ending,” Lucr. 935. “n. heard of,” Tit. II, 3, 285. “n. quenching,” R2 V, 5, 109. “n. resting,” Sonn. 5, 5. “n. surfeited,” Tp. III, 3, 55. “n. withering,” Cymb. V, 4, 98.
Never so or ne'er so == more than ever, in the highest degree: “n. so weary, n. so in woe, I can no further crawl, no further go,” Mids. III, 2, 442. (cf. “this so never needed help,” Cor. V, 1, 34). Especially in conditional and concessive sentences; a) never so: “who would give a bird the lie, though he cry cuckoo n. so?” Mids. III, 1, 139. “if thou dost intend n. so little show of love to her, thou shalt aby it,” III, 2, 334. “be his cause n. so spotless,” H5 IV, 1, 167. “new customs, though they be n. so ridiculous, are followed,” H8 I, 3, 3. b) ne'er so: “though n. so black, say they have angels' faces,” Gent. III, 1, 103. “if it be n. so false, a true gentleman may swear it,” Wint. V, 2, 175. “creep time n. so slow, yet it shall come,” John III, 3, 31. “wilt know again, being n. so little urged, another way to pluck him from the usurped throne,” R2 V, 1, 64. “who, n. so tame, will have a wild trick,” H4A V, 2, 10. “be he n. so vile,” H5 IV, 3, 62. “your grudge will out, though n. so cunningly you smother it,” H6A IV, 1, 110. “it shall be so, disdain they n. so much,” V, 3, 98. “I must ever doubt, though n. so sure,” Tim. IV, 3, 514 (cf. “where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare can save the thing from death,” Hml. IV, 7, 144).
2) == not, emphatically; a) never: “forced to content, but n. to obey,” Ven. 61. “n. say that I was false of heart,” Sonn. 109, 1. “then n. dream on infamy, but go,” Gent. II, 7, 64. “where your good word cannot advantage him, your slander n. can endamage him,” III, 2, 43. “n. a woman in Windsor knows more of Anne's mind,” Wiv. I, 4, 135. n. stand '“you had rather',” III, 3, 133. “he would n. else cross me thus,” V, 5, 40. “I can n. cut off a woman's head,” Meas. IV, 2, 5. “n. crave him,” V, 432. “let us dine and n. fret,” Err. II, 1, 6. “n. lay thy hand upon thy sword,” Ado V, 1, 54. “n. fleer and jest at me,” Ado V, 1, 54 “n. paint me now,” LLL IV, 1, 16. “I n. may believe these antique fables,” Mids. V, 2. “n. excuse,” Mids. V, 2 “and n. stays to greet him,” As II, 1, 54. “n. talk to me,” III, 4, 1. “n. make denial,” Shr. II, 281. “his father n. was so true begot,” John II, 130. “I'll be damned for n. a king's son in Christendom,” H4A I, 2, 109. “hast thou n. an eye in thy head?” II, 1, 31. “n. fear me,” IV, 2, 64. H4B I, 1, 54. II, 2, 62. H6B II, 3, 78. III, 2, 215. R3 III, 4, 53. R3 III, 4, 53. Troil. IV, 5, 199. V, 10, 2. Tim. V, 1, 96 etc. b) ne'er: “n. repent it, if it were done so,” Gent. IV, 1, 30. “I'll n. put my finger in the fire,” Wiv. I, 4, 90. “hath your grace n. a brother like you?” Ado II, 1, 336. “swear me to this, and I will n. say no,” LLL I, 1, 69. “I have n. a tongue in my head,” Merch. II, 2, 166. “with many vows of faith, and n. a true one,” V, 20. “n. a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling,” As III, 3, 107. “n. a whit,” Shr. I, 1, 240. “with n. a tooth in her head,” I, 2, 80. H4A II, 1, 19. H6A I, 2, 120. H6B II, 4, 72. Troil. I, 2, 264. Mcb. IV, 3, 208. Hml. I, 5, 123. Ant. I, 4, 43 etc.
Followed by a comparative: “I like it never the better for that,” Wiv. II, 1, 186. “I will love thee ne'er the less,” Shr. I, 1, 77 (cf. Ne'ertheless). “better far off than near be ne'er the near,” R2 V, 1, 88 (== not the nearer for being near). “when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed, and we ne'er the wiser,” H5 IV, 1, 206.
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