Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 9 14:44:36 UTC 2010

At 4:54 AM +0000 11/9/10, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 9:26 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>Google finds a number of individuals sporting the given name "Zealious."
>>Just now an "entertainment attorney" on CNN by phone from Stamford, Conn.,
>>spoke of "a zealious prosecutor" and a "zealious prosecution."
>>I expect the spelling will be cleaned up in the transcript. Maybe.
>>/ 'zElj at s /
>Has anyone named "Mischevious" turned up?
>I think (though I haven't checked) that this was an acceptable Elizabethan
>spelling (indicating a four-syllable pronunciation), often associated with
>the surname "Machiavel".
>Thus Sir Walter Ralegh (pronounced "raw-ly", as in raw meat) was on
>occasion, and perhaps justly, described as a "Mischievious Machiavel",
>rhyming with "fiend from hell."
And "mischievious" itself rhymes with "devious".  More to the point
perhaps is that it rhymes with "grievious", and seems to partake in
the same pattern of denominal adjective formation:

grief : griev(i)ous :: mischief : mischiev(i)ous

There are "about" 28,900 (or anyway, a whole bunch of) raw ghits for
"grievious" (angel, fault, sin, error, etc.)--dwarfed by "grievous"
to be sure, but far from negligible.

I'm more surprised by "zealious", given "jealous", but then the
latter isn't as obviously a denominal (and few speakers, I'd wager,
recognize that "zealous" and "jealous" are doublets).


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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