previous next

CONTRACTIONS -est dropped in superlatives after dentals and liquids

Est in superlatives is often pronounced st after dentals and liquids. A similar euphonic contraction with respect to est in verbs is found in E. E. Thus "bindest" becomes "binst," "eatest" becomes "est." Our "best" is a contraction for "bet-est." “Twó of | the swéet'st | compán | ions ín | the wórld.” Cymb. v. 5. 349. “At yóur | kind'st léisure.” Macbeth, ii. 1. 24. “The stérn'st | good níght.” Ib. ii. 2. 4.Secret'st.Ib. iii. 4. 126. “Thís is | thy éld'st | son's són.” K. J. ii. 1. 177.

So Temp. v. 1. 186. “Since déath | of mý | dear'st móth | er.” Cymb. iv. 2. 190. “The lóy | al'st hús | band thát | did é'er | plight tróth.” Ib. i. 1. 96.

A. W. ii. 1. 163, "great'st." "The sweet'st, dear'st."--W. T. iii. 2. 202. "Near'st."--Macb. iii. 1. 118. "Unpleasant'st."--M. of V. iii. 2. 254. "Strong'st."--Rich. II. iii. 3. 201. "Short'st."--Ib. v. 1. 80. "Common'st."--Ib. v. 3. 17. "Faithfull'st."--T. N. v. 1. 117.

This lasted past the Elizabethan period. “Know there are rhymes which fresh and fresh apply'd
Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride.” POPE, Imit. Hor. Epist. i. 60. The Folio reads "stroakst," and "made" in “Thou stróakedst | me ánd | madest múch | of mé, | would'st
gíve me.” Tempest, i. 2. 333. But the accent on "and" is harsh. Perhaps "and má | dest."

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: