previous next


Who for any one:

“The cloudy messenger turns me his back
And hums as who should say, 'You'll rue the time
That clogs me with this answer.'

“He doth nothing but frown, as who should say, 'If you will
not have me, choose.'

Comp. M. of V. i. 1. 93, Rich. II. v. 4. 8. In these passages it is possible to understand an antecedent to 'who,' "as, or like (one) who should say." But in the passages “Timon surnamed Misantropos (as who should say Loup-garou,
or the man-hater).” N. P. 171. “She hath been in such wise daunted
That they were, as who saith, enchanted.” GOWER, C. A. 1. (quoted by Clarke and Wright). it is impossible to give this explanation. And in Early Eng. (Morris, Specimens, p. xxxii.) "als wha say" was used for "as any one may say." Comp. the Latin quis after si, num, &c. Possibly an if is implied after the as by the use of the subjunctive. (See 107.)

Littré explains "comme qui dirait" by supplying "celui." "Il portait sur sa teste comme qui dirait un turban; c'est-à-dire, il portait, comme dirait celui qui dirait un turban." But this explanation seems unsatisfactory, in making a likeness to exist between "carrying" and "saying." But whatever may be the true explanation of the original idiom, Shakespeare seems to have understood who as the relative, for the antecedent can be supplied in all passages where he uses it, as J. C. i. 2. 120, "As who goes farthest."

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: