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PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
Ir has appeared to the writer of the following pages that occasion has long existed for a new book on the Synonyms of the English Language, which should be written in some respects from fresh points of view, and should be of a fuller character than commonly belongs to works on this subject.
The present edition has been revised, and considerably enlarged. The Author feels bound specially to acknowledge material aid in his labours derived from the latest edition of M. Guizot's "Dictionnaire Universel des Synonymes de la langue Française," from which, bearing in mind the differences between the genius of the French and the English, he has extracted much valuable matter. He has also analyzed and assimilated the observations of previous writers on English Synonymy—a branch of literature which has hitherto borne very scanty fruit in our own country. Such writers are Crabbe, Taylor, Graham, and the late Archbishop Whately.
While he has exercised his own independent judgment and original thought, he has not scrupled to incorporate views of other writers where he believed that he might do so with advantage. His object has been neither a display of originality on the one hand, nor a servile compilation on the other, but such a combination of his own ideas with those of valued authorities as might tend to produce a useful work on the subject in hand. It would be needless to say to how great an extent any writer on English Synonyms must at present be thrown on his own resources.
He must acknowledge also invaluable help, in the quotations from Dr. Richardson's "English Dictionary," which, from the comprehensive range of authors quoted, will in many cases be found to furnish, as it were, a literary biography of the words in question. The arrangement of their meanings in Webster has also been occasionally of good service.
The list of words noticed has been purposely made as ample as possible; for observation has taught him that our acquaintance
with the distinctive force even of familiar words is often less accurate than we are apt to imagine; besides which, the requirements of foreign students of our language seemed in a peculiar way to claim his sympathy and consideration.
He has been careful to give the derivations of the words analyzed, so far as this was necessary for a fundamental conception of the nature of the words themselves; and in this department he has sought the guidance and corroboration only of advanced and scientific etymologists. On the other hand he has striven to avoid the temptation of undue amplification on these points, feeling himself bound to keep steadily in view the distinction between a Philological Treatise and a Dictionary of Synonyms.
In regard to the quotations, he has endeavoured to make them as illustrative as possible of the observations which have gone before, by selecting passages in which they are employed with characteristic force by leading writers of the language. It would have swollen the book to unwieldy dimensions, and have been altogether alien to its character and object, had he given quotations of the words under every sense in which they might have been employed, or treated them in all cases as Words and not as Synonyms.
An Index has been added to the present edition. This will serve not only as a guide to the Synonyms as arranged, but also will enable the reader to institute independent comparisons of the words, if he should desire to do so.
The Author, at the time of his death, had already put together a large amount of material for a new edition, for which he had also written the above Preface. My own work has been simply such revision as was necessary while the Dictionary was passing through the press.
H. P. S.
BANDON. FORSAKE. DESERT.
The etymological force of ABANDON (Fr. abandonner, à bandon, at liberty ; feudal Lat. bandum, an order, decree; see BRACHET) has well-nigh disappeared from this word. To embandon or abandon was, primarily, to bring under the power of another; and as this would imply the surrender of all control on the part of the original possessor, it is easy to see how the consequential idea has in modern English become the primary, and then the exclusive, meaning. To abandon is now, in the most comprehensive sense, to give up finally and absolutely, whether with or without transference of the thing abandoned to some person or power external to ourselves. A trace of the old meaning, that of placing beyond jurisdiction and so disclaiming possession, appears in Shakespeare: "Madam wife, they say that I have dreamed And slept alone some fifteen years or more. Lady. Aye, and the time seems thirty
Being all this time abandoned from your bed."
Spenser used the form aband.
No praise or blame is absolutely expressed by the term abandon, which is one of the widest in the language, though it has a tendency to imply blame when used of persons without qualification. So to abandon friends sounds blameworthy, because under this simple expression the mind contemplates nothing but a deserted friendship. Yet it is right to abandon friends, if they betake themselves to what is dishonest or disgraceful. We may abandon persons or things; in particular, places, positions, ideas,
opinions, hopes, expectations, offices, possessions, good or evil habits, as the case may be. But that which is abandoned is always a thing of consideration, not a thing of little value or a matter of petty detail. We may abandon wealth, but not a purse. Where loss or injury is entailed on the person abandoned, or the abandonment is a dereliction of duty, this moral colouring belongs not to the force of the term, which is essentially no more than that of final leaving or surrender, but to the circumstances of the case. It is only when all efforts to save his ship are hopeless that the captain abandons her to the rocks and waves. In times of early Christianity men were called upon to abandon houses, lands, and relatives in such a way as would be now not only uncalled for, but an unjustifiable desertion of them. We may observe that a twofold idea seems inherent in abandonment. We may abandon directly or indirectly, either by actively transferring, or by avoiding and taking ourselves off. The former force was the predominant in the old English, the latter in the new.
to frequent. The cause of forsaking is altered taste or habit, variation of custom, alienated, or abated attachment. So, rhetorically, "the blood forsook his cheek," that is, left its wonted place. The term does not go beyond this breaking off of previous habit or association, the making that a matter of neglect or avoidance which before was matter of inclination and seeking; and, like abandon, implies in itself neither praise nor blame, which depend on the circumstances of the forsaking. Inasmuch as there is implied in forsake a former personal connexion with ourselves, we are not said to forsake abstract forms of good. We forsake houses, lands, friends, possessions, not wealth, station, or rank. These we are said to abandon or renounce. Persons on being forsaken by those who once loved them have sometimes abandoned themselves to despair.
"For wele or wo she nill him not forsake." CHAUCER.
TO DESERT (Lat. desèrère; to forsake or abandon; de and serere, to join or bind together, as opposed to asserere, to fasten-fasten hand to hand and so assert a claim) is applicable to persons, places, causes, principles, or undertakings in conjunction with others. We abandon but do not desert efforts or undertakings which are purely our own, and in which we owe no obligation or allegiance to others. The term desert always implies blame except when used of localities. To desert a person, a principle, or a cause, e.g., is by the force of the term blameworthy; for it involves the abandonment of sympathy, help, countenance, protection, effort, where these were our bounden duty, and where the contrary involves a breach of trust, fidelity, honor, or natural obligation. Not so to desert a locality, which may be indifferent, justifiable, or pulsory. It was from overlooking the fact that places might be deserted that some have laid it down that all desertion is disgraceful. "A deserted fortress," a "deserted village." On the other hand it is opprobrious in the following, where the word land means more than locality :
"No more ex ises or delays. I stand In arms, prepared to combat hand to nand, The base deserter of his native land." DRYDEN. Like forsake, desert implies some degree of previous habituation and association, but the bond broken in forsaking is that of attachment, in deserting duty; hence we are not said to desert what there was no moral obligation to adhere to, as, e.g., a statement, an expression, or a mere opinion; but principles which we were bound to support as being pledged to maintain them. Desertion involves the withdrawal of active cooperation, forsaking of sympathetic association. Desert is more purely voluntary than forsake. We may forsake under a feeling of imperative duty, our inclinations giving way to motives which our reason dares not discard; but we desert when we dislike our duty, or are prevailed upon by some external preference or allurement to escape from it.
TO RELINQUISH (Lat. relinquère) is to give up under some influence, power, or physical compulsion. We relinquish as an act of prudence, judgment, or necessity that which, had we been left to ourselves, we should have continued to hold. The act of relinquishment may of course prove subsequently to have been necessary or unnecessary, wise or unwise." wounded hand may be compelled to relinquish its grasp. In matters moral I relinquish my scheme on finding it impracticable, or my opinion on finding it untenable, or my hope on finding it vain. Some degree of previous struggle with ourselves is gone through before we fiually resolve to relinquish, or some external influence is brought to bear upon us which induces us to do so.