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and Latin. Thousands of words were introduced from Norman and Parisian French, and though in most cases the borrowed words had no equivalent in the native speech, it must by no means be supposed that they always supplied a want. So it came about that there were often two words for the same idea, one Romance, the other Germanic. In course of time this bilingualism of the vocabulary came to add greatly to the resources of the language. Words that had originally the same sense became differentiated in meaning and came to express delicate shades of thought. Such is the history of board and table, ghost and spirit, drink and beverage, forgive and pardon, child and infant, stool and chair, freedom and liberty, work and labour, feeling and sentiment, ox and beef, calf and veal, old and ancient, length and longitude , body and corpse, room and chamber.

Very often one word, generally the native term, has continued in popular use whilst the corresponding borrowed term has been reserved for learned and dignified purposes. This is the case with almighty and omnipotent. nightly and nocturnal, perhaps and perchance, blessing and benediction, round and circular, truthful and veracious, lively and vivacious, learned and erudite, beggar and mendicant, twinkle and scintillate, shady and umbrageous. Sometimes the borrowed word has become the popular term, whilst the other has been raised to a higher position. Compare e. g. the popular French word colour with the dignified and poetical native hue, resist with withstand, prophet with soothsayer, contradict with gainsay. As a rule the student of English is advised whenever he hesitates between a plain English word and a word of Latin or French origin, to choose the former. “For real strength, and above all for real clearness, there is nothing like the old English speech of our fathers,” says E. A. Freeman, a writer of vigorous, clear, and idiomatic English.

In conclusion I wish to state that I am fully aware of the many imperfections of this book and that I shall be thankful for any criticisms and suggestions that will help to make it more serviceable.


56 Willemsparkweg,

February 6, 1904.


Abdicate - to give up royal power esp. in a voluntary, public, and formal manner.

Resign - a more general term - to give up an office, employment, commission, or any advantage. A monarch abdicates, a president resigns.

He would sooner have abdicated his crown than have undergone the trouble of really directing the administration. T. B. MACAULAY.

She could not abdicate her throne, neither could any wrest it away from her. – L. MALET.

Her morbid and hysterical character rendered her unsufferable to her husband Philip, who betook himself to the Continent, where his father, Charles V., was about to abdicate in his favour. C. OMAN. On April 11th he abdicated, and retired, with the title of emperor,

to Elba. E. SANDERSON.

He was obliged to submit, to resign the office of Protector, to ask pardon for his offences, and to retire into private life. MANDELL CREIGHTON.

If their policy is censured, or even if any important ministerial proposal is rejected they resign office. E. A. FREEMAN.

Charles V. had already resigned to him Naples and Sicily, that he might not come to England as a poor landless prince. MANDELL CREIGHTON.

Richard was taken prisoner, was compelled to resign the crown, and was deposed by Parliament. ibid.

Wh it does happen, the Minister either resigns or dissolv - E. A. FREEMAN.


Able – said of persons only. An able man is a man of considerable intellectual abilities; an able seaman is a skilled seaman. Followed by a noun or by to + inf.

Capable denotes power or capacity to do or to undergo (capable of improvement), is said of persons or things, and may be active or passive in sense. Followed by a noun or by of+ger.

Her father had been an able factory inspector, well known for his share in the inauguration and revision of certain important factory reforms. MRS. WARD.

GÜNTHER, English Synonyms Explained and Ilustrated.


Able as he proved himself, his task was of no common difficulty. J. R. GREEN.

She had always been a diligent scholar, and now she took her place as an able teacher. B. HARRADEN.

I will explain the state of things to you as far as I have been able to understand it. CONAN DOYLE.

Eyes of the above nature are not capable of distinct vision. C. DARWIN.

She had never been capable, and probably never would be capable, of quarrelling with either of them. MRS. WARD.

The Duke of Newcastle was not capable of managing affairs. MANDELL CREIGHTON.

Few men were capable of greater muscular effort. CONAN DOYLE.



Abolish to do away with, to put an end to is the most general term and is said of institutions, customs, practices, duties, etc.

Repeal -- used with reference to the formal recalling of a legislative measure and applied to the acts of a parliament, council, or assembly.

Revoke – to recall or take back a law, license, privilege, charter, decree, edict, command, grant used esp. of the personal act of a ruler.

Annul to render void or declare invalid - said of contracts, decrees, laws, marriages, etc.

Cancel (properly to cross out) to render null and void - of deeds, contracts, vows, promises, patents, bonds, debts, engagements, warrants, and other things binding.

The execution of Charles I. was followed by the abolition of slavery. C. OMAN.

As that power emphatically was not made but grew, so, no less emphatically, it was not abolished but died out. E. A. FREEMAN.

When Peel brought forward his bill for abolishing the Corn Laws, he found himself bitterly opposed by Bentinck and Disraeli, and their protectionist followers. C. OMAN.

A Bill for abolishing the civil disabilities of the Jews in the British Isles was passed in 1833 by the House of Commons. E. SANDERSON.

Somerset abolished the use of the Latin language altogether, and caused the Communion Service and all the rest of the rites of the Church to be celebrated in English. -- C. OMAN.

The statute was repealed in the next session. J. R. GREEN.

The 134 Public Acts passed in 1856-7, of which all but 68 are wholly or partially repealed. H. SPENCER.

The first of them was the demand for 'Repeal', that is, the abolition of the Union of 1800, and the establishment of a local Parliament in Dublin. --C.OMAN.

In 1846 the failure of the potato crop in Ireland and of the harvest in England forced him to introduce a bill for the repeal of the Corn Laws. J. R. GREEN.

He declared war at this moment upon religious freedom by revoking the Edict of Nantes. J. R. GREEN.

All rights of Protestant worship were formally withdrawn by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. E. SANDERSON.

The marriage with Anne of Cleves was annulled, and a new Queen found in Catherine Howard. J. R. GREEN.

Edward's 'plan', as Northumberland dictated it, annulled both the Statute of Succession and the will of his father ibid.

Knowing that no Parliament would repeal this act, James resolved to annul it on his own authority. C. OMAN.

The Parliament which met in October annulled the laws made respecting religion during the past reign. – J. R. GREEN.

Lady Constance's engagement to Richard Calmady must be cancelled before her engagement to you, Mr. Decies, is announced. L. MALET.

Taking it (scil. an agreement) from her, he wrote 'Cancelled' in big letters across it, signed, and dated it. H. RIDER HAGGARD.

Of course his demise cancelled the engagement. G. MEREDITH.
We made the compact, and surely we can cancel it. T. HARDY.


Accept -- to take willingly or with a consenting mind; to receive as satisfactory.

Adopt to take a person voluntarily into some relationship (as heir, son, friend, etc.) and confer on him the privileges belonging to that relation; to make one's own by choice or approval.

Assume to take to oneself whether rightly or wrongly; to put on a form, character, garb, or aspect; to assume the robes of office (with or without right), an office, the responsibility of a proceeding, the garb of a mendicant, etc.

I gladly accepted this offer. J. TYNDALL.
With some hesitation she accepted their hospitality. T. HARDY.

He accepted a glass of wine, being temperate but not severely abstemious. J. A. FROUDE.

He accepted the logic of facts. E. DOWDEN.

The Mill where Will lived with his adopted parents stood in a falling valley between pinewoods and great mountains. R. L. STEVENSON.

For the adoption of an infant I believe no formality to be required. - ibid.

I think that is a suggestion which County Councils are very likely to adopt. R. GARNETT.

Such was the course which he had adopted. W. E. NORRIS.

He seems to have adopted from the beginning a national rather than a West-Saxon policy. - J. R. GREEN.

While in France she had assumed the title of Queen of England. J. A. FROUDE.

The position it then assumed it has since maintained. J. TYNDALL.

The prelate's face assumed a grave expression as he read the letter. G. MOORE.

It was now England's turn to assume an attitude of aggression against Spain. MANDELL CREIGHTON.

Though he tried hard to listen, and to assume an air of comprehension, he did not understand much of what he heard. H. FREDERIC.


An accident is what happens without any one's intention; the word implies the absence of design and is used esp. to denote an unforeseen and undesigned disaster.

Chance implies the absence of any reason why an event should turn out one way rather than another, and is also used like Du. kans to denote an opportunity that comes in one's way or a possibility or probability of some occurrence.

William, whether by accident or by design, was not admitted. E. A. FREEMAN.

I have just learned by accident that you are somewhere in Wales. WATTS-DUNTON.

Accident detained me at the Cape of Good Hope, entangled me in Cape politics, and consumed the leisure which I could then spare. — J. A. FROUDE.

His glance hit by accident upon the name of Chopin. H. FREDERIC.

Accidents on railways arise from three causes, inattention of servants, defective material, either in the works or the rolling stock, and excessive speed. – D. K. CLARK.

The constant accidents in the pits at which he was working painfully forced the danger of naked lights on his attention. T. H. BEARE.

A strange chance had landed me upon the French coast. R. L. STEVENSON.

You will here perceive that the guesses of science are not the work of chance, but of thoughtful pondering over antecedent facts. J. TYNDALL.

Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem. CONAN DOYLE,

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