from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Contraction of ever.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Contraction of ever.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. A contraction for ever. See ever.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A contraction of ever.
  • A suffix of nouns of agent, being a more English spelling of -ier, equivalent to the older -er, as in prisoner, etc. (see -er), as in engineer (formerly enginer), pamphleteer, gazetteer, buccaneer, cannoneer, etc., and, with reference to place of residence, mountaineer, garreteer, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. at all times; all the time and on every occasion


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Been there & loved it. Enjoy. :-)

    May 26, 2009

  • I appreciate the links, but won't have time to watch them for the next few days. My favorite Shakespeare to watch performed is in Staunton, Virginia at the Blackfriars Playhouse. No joke. I've seen Shakespeare in London, Stratford, New York, etc., and the best, hands-down, is in Staunton (pronounced STAN-ton). The theatre's website is here, if anyone's interested.

    "We do it with the lights on." ;)

    May 23, 2009

  • Would you recommend any good audio books or youtube links? Do you prefer the iambs aggressively stressed and unstressed or read more naturally?

    I like this guy:

    however most end up sounding like:

    May 23, 2009

  • Yes, rolig, and the same is often said about Shakespeare—his stuff was absolutely meant to be heard, and seen, not read. It takes on an entirely new life when it's heard.

    I'd just like to point out, also, that the saying "method to the madness" is derived from a quote in Shakespeare's Hamlet (which you may well have known, but maybe someone else didn't!):


    Aside Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

    Hamlet, Act 2 scene 2

    Featuring another seemingly odd apostrophized word. Ah, it seems there is nothing new under the sun.

    (Shakespeare, Sonnet 59... Oh, and Ecclesiastes too.)

    Myth, most people say "that's the way it was done back then" because they don't know enough about history. :) There was always a reason, even if people don't know what it is anymore.

    May 19, 2009

  • Meter of course is helpful for memorizing text, which is certainly a major reason why poets have used it at least since Homer. We shouldn't forget that before the 20th century, poetry was written as more to be performed than read silently. People used to entertain themselves by reading things to each other out loud, whether this was poetry or a serialized novel. To enjoy a writer like Byron, you need to hear his work, and not merely see it on the page.

    Don Juan is a long poem (Byron may have called it a novel in verse), not a play, so there are no stage directions. Read a little of it out loud and try to imagine the words being spoken by a brilliant young man, as famous as a rock star and with about as much humility, who wants to overturn all the conventions and expose the hypocrisy of his time, and you might start to get an idea of what it's about.

    May 19, 2009

  • @c_b: That's the best explanation I've heard. Most people just say "that's the way it was done back then." It seems strange. However, if it was done as a mnemonic device and a sort of shorthand, that makes a lot more sense. I'll feel a lot better reading it when I know there is a method to the madness.

    @rolig: The difference is that rappers aren't trying to fit a widely accepted set of rules. If you look at just the rapper's lyrics without having heard it before, it would look horrible. (Half the time I don't even want to know what they are saying.) You might have no way of knowing how to read it. It was not meant to be read. A song that lasts two minutes is a bit different then a 200 page poem. You could say that Byron or Shakespeare should be seen instead of read to be fully understood. That makes sense. I've seen a couple. I don't see any stage notes in Byron's Don Juan though. Was it meant to be a play?

    May 19, 2009

  • an important thing to bring up, c_b. it's easy to forget the practical nature of poetry, specifically its ancient relationship to mnemonics.

    May 19, 2009

  • One of the reasons Shakespeare wrote much of his plays (not all—some have quite a bit of prose) in iambic pentameter is so that the actors, who had to know up to a dozen parts in each play and know about a dozen plays at a time, could memorize them quicker and remember them longer.

    As no one seemed to have mentioned that yet, I thought I'd throw it out there.

    May 18, 2009

  • Thanks, Qroqqa! Clear and informative comments, as always.

    May 18, 2009

  • Ever to monosyllabic eer is a normal development: head, hawk, lark all come from earlier polysyllables with a medial v. In the case of eer, oer, (i) the v-ful alternatives remained in the language beside the shorter forms; (ii) at a relatively late stage the apostrophe was introduced to make the short form look like a mere variety of the longer one; and finally (iii) the short forms dropped out of everyday language. The poets didn't invent any contractions, they used the contractions available in everyday language (like it's, I've, i'th') and only gradually were some of these restricted to poetic registers.

    Likewise the alternation of, say, walked and walk'd is because for some considerable time both were available in everyday language. Eventually walk'd won out and disyllabic walked was confined to poetic style.

    May 18, 2009

  • I'd go so far as to say it's like complaining that "isn't" and "don't" massacre spoken language with dem durn aposturfies.

    elision happens.

    deal with it.

    that's my new slogan

    May 18, 2009

  • The "rules" of meter may be clearcut enough, but the variations in how poets follow them, or choose to break them, to create the effects they want, are countless and fascinating.

    Byron was brilliant in being able to use plain, chatty English, often with great comic effect, as in Don Juan (the name should be pronounced to rhyme with "Ewan"), but he could also write lovely "poetic" poetry, as in "She walks in beauty like the night".

    You sound a bit like an old fogey, myth, who complains that poets (i.e. rappers) these days are "massacring" words because they write "gonna" and "witya" instead of "going to" and "with you".

    May 18, 2009

  • l're, l're--pants f're

    sounds good to me.

    May 18, 2009

  • @madmouth: Do they spell it f're or fi'e and do it to force their sentences into iambic meter? If so, then yes. :) If the rules are so simple, why do they need to massacre the words? :)

    @rolig: The style doesn't prevent me from enjoying the other parts of the poetry. I just thought it was funny that the manipulation was so blatant without seeming to sound or appear any better for it. I'm more a fan of 1800-1900's style of writing. I just picked up Byron because Shaw, Chesterton and Fitzgerald seem to keep mentioning him and I was curious. I might not have stumbled upon his good stuff yet or just expect him to be more "poetic" with flowery words.

    May 18, 2009

  • poetic meter isn't a complex set of rules. it's one rule: put this many syllables in each line.

    the complexity comes from the syllabic flexibility of words, found in normal human speech as often as in poetry. does it also irritate you that some people say, for example, "fire", as one syllable instead of two?

    May 18, 2009

  • Contractions like e'er and o'er, as well as spellings like the monosyllabic heav'n and giv'n should not be taken as indications of poets "cheating" or trying to fit square pegs into round holes. For one thing, poets like Byron knew exactly what they were doing when it came to prosody; they dreamed in iambic pentameter in a way few of us can imagine.

    As such they were very familiar with the concept of the reduced syllable – a nearly ellided syllable that should not be given the weight even of the unstressed beat in the iambic foot. Often two syllables could be counted as one; this could be indicated with a contraction such as e'er or even (e'en) to th'. The fact that the v sound is involved in a number of these contractions may also tell us that this sound had various qualities to it and could be pronounced differently in different contexts or by different speakers; historically, after all, the letter v represented both a consonant and a vowel (u).

    Today many poets no longer count syllables the way they used to (and many still do but don't want us to think they do).

    Sadly, I'm not sure people expect anything of poetry these days, or rather, if they do, they expect it to be sentimental or inspiring and so don't really "get" what contemporary poets are writing (as with modern art, they think, "jeez, I could have written that! It doesn't even rhyme!"). Probably a lot of people would love it if more poets were more "poetic".

    Myth, don't give up on Shakespeare, Byron, or anyone else just because they don't write as if they were born in 1970. Try to learn their language first (and don't assume it has to be the same as yours), before you judge them. They still have a lot of amazing things to tell us, even though (or perhaps because) they are centuries away from us.

    May 17, 2009

  • I was thinking that it might make it easier to read giving it some sort of rhythmic pace. But to make the rules so complex that they were forced to circumvent them by making square pegs fit in the round holes seems lame. Maybe they thought it made it even harder to understand enabling them to pretty much say whatever they wanted? Or maybe I just expect too much from them given all their hype.

    May 17, 2009

  • Poetry was a big thing in the old days, and poets were allowed to work with a language which was consciously unquotidian. It doesn't wash today (and rightly so) because what we expect of poetry has changed; now it has to humble itself in the demotic or be guillotined (notwithstanding that 99.9% of people ignore it).

    May 17, 2009

  • I just happened to be reading Byron at the moment which was littered with all these weird contractions and realized this was the reason we have so many in our language and also why I hate Shakespeare. It seems like a cop out. What is the motivation for even using iambic pentameter?

    The v seems like it would be a key component. Why not have it be ev'?

    May 17, 2009

  • Byron and, y know, English poetry since the 16th century

    May 17, 2009

  • The "poetic" version of ever.

    I think this was done to reduce the amount of syllables for iambic pentameter. Byron's such a big fat cheater!

    May 17, 2009