previous next


ADJECTIVES formed from nouns, adverbs, &c., without change

The licence of converting one part of speech into another may be illustrated by the following words used as adjectives:

“The fine point of seldom (rare) pleasure.

“Each under (inferior) eye.

“This beneath (lower) world.

“The orb below
As hush (silent) as death.

See also still, below (22). “Most felt (palpable) and open this.” B. J. Sejan. i. 2. “Most laid (plotted) impudence.” B. J. Fox.

As still with us, any noun could be prefixed to another with the force of an adjective: "water-drops," "water-thieves," "water-fly," &c.

This licence, however, was sometimes used where we should prefer the genitive or an adjective. Thus, "the region kites" (Hamlet, ii. 2. 607,) for "the kites of the region;" and "the region cloud," Sonn. 33. So perhaps, "a moment leisure," Hamlet, i. 3. 133. We say "heart's ease," but Shakespeare, Hen. V. ii. 2. 27, says "heart-grief;" "heart-blood," Rich. II. i. 1. 172, &c.; "faction-traitors," ib. ii. 2. 57. Again, a word like "music" is not commonly used by us as a prefix unless the suffix is habitually connected with "music:" thus "music-book," "music-master," &c., but not "music" for "musical" as in

“The honey of his music vows.

Compare "venom mud," R. of L. 561; "venom clamours," C. of E. v. i. 69, for "venomous;" "venom sound," Rich. II. ii. 1. 19; "venom tooth," Rich. III. i. 3. 291.

This licence is very frequent with proper names.

“Here in Philippi fields.

“Draw them to Tiber banks.

“There is no world without Verona walls.

“Within rich Pisa walls.

“To the Cyprus wars.

“Turkey cushions.

, as we still say.

“From Leonati seat.

“Venice gold.

The reason for this licence is to be found in an increasing dislike and disuse of the inflection in 's. Thus we find, "sake" frequently preceded in 1 Hen. IV. by an uninflected noun: "for recreation sake," 1 Hen. IV. i. 2. 174; ib. ii. 1. 80; ib. v. 1. 65; "for fashion sake," A. Y. L. iii. 2. 271.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: