Seldom

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David Myer
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Seldom

Postby David Myer » Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:56 pm

I like this word because it doesn't follow a structure or pattern. I think this generally suggests it is a proper English word from antiquity. Perhaps it is a portmanteau originally, or composite of sel meaning ??? and dom meaning ???

And of course it's counterpart or opposite, 'often' that falls into the same Old English category.

I tried to search for both words in the Suggestions and Discussion but they are such common words that the system boggled or declined to make the effort! I even tried 'oftentimes' (does seldomtimes exist?) But I suspect although oftentimes feels obsolescent, that it is a poetic invention from the original often, presumably to aid rhyme or scansion.

Oftentimes revealed a great quotation from Grand Panjandrum Gailr (where is she now?) Here's the quote:
"In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another."
This is apparently a translation in 1693 of a 16th century writing by Rabelais. I wonder what is the French for oftentimes. Souventtemps? Surely not.

Audiendus
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Re: Seldom

Postby Audiendus » Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:00 am

Wiktionary has these entries:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/seldom

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/often

Seldom and often come from Proto-Germanic seldane and ufta/ufto respectively. The final 'n' of often was added by analogy with Middle English selden.
does seldomtimes exist?
Yes:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/seldomtimes
I wonder what is the French for oftentimes. Souventtemps? Surely not.
You're nearly right! It's souventefois.

http://fr.thefreedictionary.com/souventefois

David Myer
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 614
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:21 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Seldom

Postby David Myer » Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:25 am

Fabulous! Thank you. I didn't really expect an answer, and to get such a thorough one is indeed a joy. Cheers

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Slava
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Re: Seldom

Postby Slava » Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:46 pm

And here's the Good Doctor's treatment of this word.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.


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