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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Digest Number 1510

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  • Wenyeva atte Grene
    ... Delurking... I wrote a post about this topic for another list earlier this month. Let s just say that when I looked this up in the OED I ... I m delurking
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2003
      >OK, the obvious one is the use of 'smalls' instead of 'children'... it has
      >been traced to earlier than the 12th Century and derives from the
      >Anglo-Saxon *cild*. Do we have evidence anywhere that the word 'smalls'
      >was used as a synonym for 'children'... or even *gasp* 'halflings'?

      Delurking... I wrote a post about this topic for another list earlier
      this month. Let's just say that when I looked this up in the OED I
      was surprised. :) Here it is:


      I'm delurking to mention that I just checked this in the OED and
      found the following under "small":

      B. absol. or as n.2

      1. a. Persons or animals of small size or stature; little ones,
      children. (Now only with the.)

      c1220 Bestiary 515 in O.E. Misc., {Edh}e smale he wile {edh}us
      biswiken, {edh}e grete mai{ygh} he no{ygh}t bigripen. a1300 E.E.
      Psalter xvi. 16 {Th}ar leuinges to {th}air smale left {th}ai. 1388
      WYCLIF Matt. xviii. 6 Who so sclaundrith oon of these smale, that
      bileuen in me. c1430 Syr Tryam. 1556 'A lytulle lower, Syr,' seyde
      hee, 'And let us smalle go wyth thee'.

      (The characters in {} are characters not in our modern alphabet, such
      as edh, yogh, and thorn. -W.)

      b. A child, a little one.

      1907 W. DE MORGAN Alice-for-Short xxx. 300 How much can you
      remember of all that time, Alice? You were only a small, you know.
      Ibid., I wasn't such a small as all that. 1947 Forum (Johannesburg) 5
      Apr. 37/1 In a dozen other ways the prefects are the right-hand men
      of their Housemasters and me, and many a small owes a very great debt
      indeed to them. 1968 Guardian 1 Apr. 7/3 Leave two smalls to the
      tender mercies of a baby sitter? 1981 P. DICKINSON Seventh Raven vi.
      75 After each performance there's always a dozen smalls wandering
      miserably around.


      So, it does seem as if something similar was used in the 1200-1450
      period, and then again in the 20th Century. The OED doesn't list any
      other citations. No 17th C. usage, even! The etymology section notes
      that "The form smale, representing OE. disyllabic forms, is common in
      ME. and occurs as late as the 17th cent." So "smale" might be
      appropriate even in late period.)

      By the way, the earliest citation given for "smalls" as underclothes
      is from Dickens in 1837.

      Source: _Oxford English Dictionary_,Second Edition, 1989.
      . (You have to have a membership to access this, but if you are a
      member of the Quality Paperback Book Club you get free OED access.
      That benefit makes it worth being a member of the club. ;) )

      Wenyeva atte grene
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