What Are Archaisms? (with Examples)

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What Are Archaisms? (with Examples)

An archaism is the use of archaic words (or spellings). Archaisms are words that have gone out of use in modern language. Nowadays, their use is usually for impact, comic effect, or portraying a sense of the old fashioned.

Examples of Archaisms

Here are some examples of archaisms in sentences:
  • This marks the end of an era methinks.
  • Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go. (James Baldwin, 1924 - 1987)
  • There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. (old English proverb)

Examples of Archaisms

Here is a list of some common archaisms with their meanings (or approximate meanings) in today's language:

ArchaismMeaning Today
aforebefore
agoneago
alackexpression of regret
anonat once
arightright
avauntaway
ayeyes
betwixtbetween
certescertainly
eftagain
ekealso
erewhileuntil now
fieexpression of disapproval
foreearlier
forsoothindeed
forthwithimmediately
gadzooksmild expression of surprise
harkto listen
hitherto here
howbeitalthough
meseemsit seems to me
methinksI think
nighalmost
nowisenot at all
sithsince
soothtruth
soothfastfaithful
soothlytruly
thereintointo it
therewithforthwith
therewithalknowledge
thitherto there
totherthe other
twaintwo
twixtbetween
verilytruly
whenaswhen
whencesoeverfrom any place
whichsoeverany
whitherto what place
whithersoeverto any place
wistto know
yedeto go
yoicksexpression of surprise
yonover there


 
 


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