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languages. As a sound, its power in the English language is at least which meant in our old writers, to cause, not to feel fear. It was only fourfold, as in the words father, call, tame, and hat. The first of these as a reflective verb I fear me, that we have the idea of the Latin sounds is that which generally prevails in other languages. The modi- vereor, and our modern I fear. This non-accented a is but a variety fied pronunciation of the vowel in tame is partly due to the vowel e at of the y, so familiar in the old participles yclept, yseen, &c., and conthe end of the word ; in call and similar forms, the peculiarity arises sequently it represents the ge of the German ge-gangen, &c., which is from the letter l ; so that the only true sounds of the vowel are perhaps commonly allowed to be an old preposition signifying thoroughly. 3. the long sound in father, and the short one in hat. The printed forms In some verbs of Saxon origin, the prefixed a represents the inseparable of this letter, viz., the capital A, the small character a, and the italic a, preposition on of the Anglo-Saxon, a little word no way connected with are all derived from a common form, differing but slightly from the the preposition on already noticed, for it corresponds to the German first of the three. In the old Greek and Latin alphabets, from which ent and Greek ava. Thus to awake, that is, to wake up, is the Angloour own has descended, the following were the ordinary figures of this Saxon on-vacan; and a-cknowledge is closely related to the Angloletter:

Saxon on-cnáwan, and the Latin a-ynosc-ere, whose prefix is of similar origin, and no way related to the ordinary Latin reposition ad. 4.

On the other hand, in some of our Norman words, such as amount, d

arail, and their compounds, so familiar in legal language, par-amount,

par-aval (See Mr. Ludlow's paper, ' Philolog. Soc. Trans.' for 1854, among which, the fourth and fifth only differ from the rest in the p. 114), we have, as in the ordinary French preposition à, the reprerounding of the angle ; the form consisting of straight lines being well sentative of the Latin ad, ad montein, up; ad vallem, down. 5. Lastly, adapted for writing on stone, metal, &c.; the rounded letter, on the our obsolete or Lowland-Scotch compound prepositions a-fore, a-yont, other hand, being better suited for expeditious writing, with softer or a-hint, must be placed beside the current forms, be-fore, be-yond, be-hind, more flexible materials. From this last our two small characters are ab-aft, ab-out, ab-ove ; forms which point to a disyllabic preposition abe. easily deduced. For the explanation of the fact that this letter is In the same way, the Homeric evi, appears in kindred languages someallowed the first place in the series of letters, see ALPHABET.

times as in or en, sometimes as ni or ne, and as i alone, as in i'the, &c. A or AN, the indefinite article. Of the two, an is used before a AB, the fifth month of the ancient Hebrew year, but now the vowel. Where the following word begins with a consonant, it being eleventh (or, in intercalary years, the twelfth), in consequence of the more troublesome to express the final n, this letter, from not being transfer of the new year from spring to autumn. pronounced ceased to be written. Thus we say an emperor, but On the 1st day of Ab a fast is held in commemoration of the death instead of an king, we find it more convenient to say a king. Some of Aaron. On the 9th a fast is observed in remembrance of the times a virtual consonant exists at the beginning of a word without destruction of the Holy Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 588 B.C., and of being written, as in union and once, where the ear catches the initial the destruction of the second Temple by Titus, A.D. 70. This fast is sounds of y and w, younion and wunce. Before such words it is custo- considered the most mournful of the whole year. On the 18th another mary to drop the final letter of the article, at least in pronunciation, fast is observed. All these fasts are postponed one day if they fall on and there can be no good reason for not writing a union, a once beloved the Saturday. monarch. On the other hand, whenever his mute, we should retain the A little festival called Tub-ab, or the fifteenth Ab, is celebrated on n both in writing and speaking, thus, a history, but an historical the 15th day, to commemorate an ancient custom, according to which work. That an and not a is the primitive form of the article, is proved the young girls of each tribe came forth into the fields clothed in by the Anglo-Saxon an, and the German ein ; indeed, our own numeral white, and exhibited themselves in dances before the young men, with one is only another and fuller form of the same word. In such the view of being selected by them in marriage. phrases as three shillings a pound, the article evidently has this The month of Ab may begin in some years as early as the 10th of meaning. The double shape of our article has led to a corrupt mode July, in others as late as the 7th of August. of writing certain words, thus from an eft was deduced a neft, a newt ; Ab is the name of the twelfth month of the Syrian year, coinciding and the reverse seems to have taken place in the change of a nadder with our August. to an adder.

ABACISCUS, in architecture, is a diminution of the architectural A, as a prefix in English words. 1. In such words as afoot, aside, term ABACUS, and is principally applied, when used at all, which is not aboard, we have simply, as Horne Tooke observes, corrupted abbre- often, to the tiles or squares of a tessellated pavement. viations of on fote, on syde, on borde, &c. This on is an Anglo-Saxon A'BACUS, a game among the Romans ; so called from its being preposition with the meaning of in. Thus, in the old translation of the played on a board, somewhat in the manner of chess. New Testament we have he fell on sleep, for asleep. The same is the A'BACUS, in architecture, is the level tablet, whether square or origin of the a, which so often precedes our verbal nouns in ing, as he is oblong, which is almost always placed on the moulded or otherwise gone a-walking, the house was so many years a-building; and indeed it was enriched capital of a column, to support the horizontal entablature. only by the suppression of this a that our imperfect participles in ing The architectural application of the term Abacus, which in the original came into use. A similar formation appears in the French en sortant, is applied to any rectangular tile-like figure, arises from a story which &c., and the Celtic languages generally form their imperfect participle, Vitruvius tells of the manner in which the foliated capital called the by prefixing a preposition of similar power to the infinitive, that is, Corinthian originated. The modifications in its form in the various to an abstract noun expressing the idea of the verb. 2. But an a also orders of Greek and Roman architecture will be seen in the article appears at times in the formation of the perfect participle. Thus ago, Column. In Gothic architecture, the abacus undergoes nunerous formerly agone, ashamed, afеard, now dishonoured as a vulgarism, are changes and modifications, not merely in the several styles, but also in



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