[Ads-l] to don

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 14 22:44:39 UTC 2019

I finally (many years ago) managed to hold onto the difference between
"don" and "doff" by remembering that they come from "do on" and "do off".

Etymonline.com explains the history:
*doff (v.)*

"put or take off" an article of clothing, especially a hat or cap, late
14c., *doffen*, a contraction of *do off*, preserving the original sense of
*do* as "put." At the time of Johnson's Dictionary [1755] the word was
"obsolete, and rarely used except by rustics," and also in literature as a
conscious archaism, but it was saved from extinction (along with *don*
(v.)) by Sir Walter Scott. However, *dout* and *dup* did not survive.
Related: *Doffed; doffing.*

Mark Mandel

On Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 12:49 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

>  I suspect "doff (one's hat)" is more robust than "don" for 'put on'.  But
> if "don" is simply understood as 'wear' or 'sport', the elegant
> parallelism between "don" and "doff" is lost.    Sigh.
> LH
> On Sat, Dec 14, 2019 at 10:40 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> I suspect it's related to a misapprehension of the now notorious line,
> "Don we now our gay apparel," which theoretically could mean either 'put
> on' or 'wear.'

 As mentioned elsewhere, my grandchildren were taught in school that the
> lyrics were "Don we now our fine apparel."
> JL

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

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