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PREFIXES. A-; all-to-; at-; be-; dis-

All-to (see 28) is used in the sense of "completely asunder" as a prefix in “And all-to-brake his skull.” Judges ix. 53.

"Asunder" was an ordinary meaning of the prefix "to" in E. E. It must be borne in mind that all had no necessary connection with to, till by constant association the two syllables were corrupted into a prefix, all-to, which was mistaken for altogether and so used. Hence, by corruption, in many passages, where all-to or all-too is said to have the meaning of "asunder," it had come to mean "altogether," as in “Mercutio's ycy hand had al-to frozen mine.” HALLIWELL.

It has been shown (73) that too and to are constantly interchanged in Elizabethan authors. Hence the constant use of all too for "quite," "decidedly too," as in Rich. II. iv. 1. 28, "all too base," may have been encouraged by the similar sound of all-to. Shakespeare does not use the archaic all-to in the sense of "asunder," nor does Milton probably in “She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled.” MILTON, Comus, 376.

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