[DWJ] Re: Gotten, was Re: DWJ on Bujold

Joe oddenda at gmail.com
Fri May 23 20:28:27 EDT 2008


On 23 May 2008, at 22:09, Minnow wrote:
> deborah commented
>>
>> Interestingly, the English equivalent of "be-" is a prefix I add
>> on other words, but not rude ones. For example, "help! I've been
>> becatted!"
>
> I suppose that the English word 'bespatter' has its 'be' ultimately 
> from
> the same source, also 'begrime', 'besmear', 'belittle' -- in fact most 
> of
> the ones I think of immediately are boo-words, apart from 'become'!
>
> Minnow
>

My print shorter OED calls the "be-" prefix "freely productive", which 
I think means we can add it to whatever words we like to form a new or 
enhanced meaning.

** pause while I go log onto oed.com and look up "be-" **

Yes... very interesting and entertaining, but way too long to reproduce 
here. However:  "Be- being still in some of its senses a living 
element, capable of being prefixed wherever the sense requires it, the 
derivatives into which it enters are practically unlimited in number."

There then follows a series of lists of possible words under each of 
the meanings, both positive and negative, but largely I would say 
negative - so we have beglitter, but then begroan and begruntle 
directly afterwards. Others are just plain silly, e.g. beschoolmaster, 
"to furnish with schoolmasters".

Here's a fun list, under meaning 4. (Making verbs transitive, by adding 
a prepositional relation: primarily ‘about’): 
-------------- next part --------------
bebark, to bark around or at; 
-------------- next part --------------
becack, to deposit ordure on; bechatter, to environ with chattering, 
etc.; 
-------------- next part --------------
bechirm, to chirm (as birds) around; 
-------------- next part --------------
bechirp, to chirp about; beclang, beclatter; 
-------------- next part --------------
becrave (OE. becrafian), to crave for; becrawl, to crawl all over; 
becroak, to croak round or at; 
-------------- next part --------------
becry, to cry at, accuse; bedin, to fill with din or noise; bedribble, 
to dribble upon (e.g. as a dog); bedrivel; bedrizzle; 
-------------- next part --------------
bedwell, to dwell in or around; 
-------------- next part --------------
befleet, to flow round; 
-------------- next part --------------
befret, to fret or gnaw away; befuddle, to make stupid with tippling; 
begaze, to gaze at; 
-------------- next part --------------
beglide, to slip away from, escape; 
-------------- next part --------------
beglitter, to irradiate; begroan, to groan at; 
-------------- next part --------------
begruntle, to make uneasy; behoot, to hoot at; bejuggle, to get over by 
jugglery, to cheat; 
-------------- next part --------------
belag, to make to lag; 
-------------- next part --------------
beleap, to leap on, ‘cover’; 
-------------- next part --------------
bemew, 
-------------- next part --------------
bemoult, to mew or moult upon; bemurmur, to murmur at or against; 
-------------- next part --------------
bemute (of birds), to mute or drop dung on; beparse, to plague with 
parsing; bepiss, to piss on, wet with urine; bepreach, to preach at; 
bereason, to reason with, overcome by reasoning; 
-------------- next part --------------
bireme, to cry out upon; beride (OE. berídan), to ride beside, to 
override; 
-------------- next part --------------
berow, to row round; 
-------------- next part --------------
bescumber, to scumber on; beshine (OE. bescínan), to shine on; beshit(e 
(OE. bescítan) = becack (Obs. in polite use, but common in ME. and 
early mod.E. literature); beshout, to shout at, applaud; 
-------------- next part --------------
beshriek, to shriek at; 
-------------- next part --------------
besigh, to sigh for; 
-------------- next part --------------
besmell, to smell out; besmile, to smile on; 
-------------- next part --------------
bespew, to spew on; bestare, to stare at, to make staring; bestraddle, 
to straddle across, bestride; bestream, to stream over; beswarm, to 
swarm over; 
-------------- next part --------------
beswelter; beswim, to swim upon; bethunder; 
-------------- next part --------------
betipple, to muddle by tippling; betravel, to travel over, to overrun 
with travellers: bevomit, to vomit all over; bewhisper, to whisper to; 
bewhistle, to whistle round.

Apologies if those daggers for archaisms play havoc with people's mail 
readers. (What's the correct term for those, btw?)

And my favourite quotation from this entry (not that I've spent the 
time going through them all, it being 1:23 a.m.): "your head beshagg'd 
with nittie lowsie lockes".

Thanks to everyone who helped with "ybounden" earlier in the week - I 
was at home with a sick baby who wouldn't be put down, and it seemed 
simpler to type a one-handed email to the list than wrestle one-handed 
with hefty reference books.


Joe


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