a such "therefore"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 21 21:55:46 UTC 2005

Here's what OED had to say roughly a century ago about maverick "as such"  :

  38...b. The sense ‘in that capacity’ passes contextually into: Accordingly, consequently, thereupon. colloq. or vulgar.
  1721 in Swayne Churchw. Acc. Sarum (1896) 351 [He] did..publickly Declare..That he had chosen the said William Clemens to be his parish Clerk..And bid the Congregation to..accept himas such Witness Henry Biggs, F. Barber, [etc.]. 1800 J. KING in Corr. W. Fowler (1907) 33, I very much longed to hear from you..and as such I did not the least esteem it for its having been delayed for the reasons assigned. 1814 W. FOWLER Ibid. 297 H. R. H. Princess Augusta..motioned for me to come to her Highness. As such she addressed me in the most pleasant manner possible.

  Not quite "therefore," though 1800 comes even closer than the others.  Equally unsettling are these exx. from 38.a. "As being what the name or description implies; in that capacity" :

  1797 Encycl. Brit. XVI. 566/2 Her son was proclaimed her heir, and as such great duke of all the Russias.

  1891 EDGE in Law Times XC. 395/1 The defendant is the rector of the parish, and, as such, occupies the glebe land.

  These, and innumerable similar exx., could easily be miscontrued as meaning "therefore" by someone unfamiliar with the standard idiom.

   Notice how "accordingly" (expressed as "as such" in 1721 above) long ago attracted a meaning almost indistinguishable from "consequently; therefore."

  I conclude, as such, that "consequential _as such_" has almost certainly existed below the radar for two centuries and more.

  (This was especially easy for it before the development of radar.)


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