from The Century Dictionary.

  • A form occurring only in the following passage, where it is apparently either an intentional blunder put into the mouth of Dogberry, or an original misprint for easiest (in early print eafiest or efiest).


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Having, as he felt sure, the means of making things decidedly uncomfortable for Mr. Rodman Williamson, it struck him that the eftest way would be to declare at once to his brother



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  • Could also be from eath (easy) ... OE eaþ.

    April 10, 2013

  • From Middle English ethe ("not difficult, easy"), from Old English ēaþe, īeþe ("easy, smooth, not difficult"), from Proto-Germanic *auþijaz (“easy, pleasing”), from *auþiz (“deserted, empty”), from Proto-Indo-European *aut- (“empty, lonely”). Cognate with Scots eith ("easy"), Old Saxon ōþi ("deserted, empty"), Old High German ōdi ("empty, abandoned, easy, effortless"), Middle High German öde (German öde, "blank, vacant, easy"), Old Norse auðr ("deserted, empty"), Icelandic auð ("easy"), Gothic ̸̴̰̹̿̓ (auþeis, "desolate, deserted"). Non-Germanic cognates include Albanian vetëm ("alone") from vet ("his/her/their own, self"). More at easy. (Wiktionary)

    April 11, 2013

  • Two things to keep in mind to help identify the etymology of this word. First, the character Dogberry is comical character who is also a pedant who frequently uses malapropisms. Second, the English language was changing from Middle English to Modern English during this period and indubitably the pedants of the time were "correcting" Modern English usages that trampled on Middle English conventions. So, if someone wanted to say "most old" and used "oldest", the pendants probably were upset that the "correct" strong form, "eldest", was not being used. If Shakespeare wanted to spoof this tendency of pedants during that time to insist that the only correct superlative of "old" was "eldest", then what comical superlative would he give for "oft"? Since its usage was intended as a comical malapropism, that also explains why the word has never been found anywhere else.

    July 19, 2014

  • I just came across this word not in the above mentioned source, but in the short story "The Experiment" by M.R. James:

    "'But the eftest way is to send you the whole, which herewith I do; copied from a book of recipes which I had of good Bishop Moore.'"

    I assume it is a real word, not a typo, albeit an obscure one, meaning "swiftest and most efficient."

    May 10, 2015

  • ...eftsoon this word coined he

    May 10, 2015