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  • This entry was a complete error. All the quotes were from old pieces of writing that were misread by a transcriber, who saw the old-fashioned Tall S which died out in the 18thC as if it were an "f". I think such entries ought to be discouraged!

    June 2, 2014

  • The 'tall s' in the examples would have been transcribed by Optical Character Recognition software, or people having to decode a captcha to access a website.

    Was it really a tall S? Did people really say fignify in the 1700's?

    Link to a 1700's grammar book with the word fignify
    The rudiments of English grammar, etc   By Joseph Priestley  1772

    June 2, 2014

  • No, people did not say "fignify." They said "signify" but the printer's convention was to form the "S," sometimes only in the initial position, sometimes more generally, like an elongated "f."

    There is an amusing Flanders and Swann treatment of “Greenfleeves,” (funny name for a fong) that you can listen to here.

    June 2, 2014

  • I've added this to my list of long-s-examples. Please feel free to add any others you might come acrofs.

    June 2, 2014

  • With the rhotic shift, I could see the s and f being a thing.

    June 2, 2014

  • Of courfe they faid it. The examples in the right-hand column include a ftirring fermon by the late Reverend (and Pious) Samuel Davies, who afsures us:

    But there are two words, which by a fynecdoche are often ufed in fcripture to fignify all his futferings of every kind, from firfl to laft; viz. liis blood and his crofs.

    Now clearly 'liis' was an aberration; perhaps the Devil had pofsefsed him at that moment and he was unable to think clearly. I don't think we fhould take 'liis' ferioufly here. But his firfl futfering: what a fynecdoche!

    June 3, 2014