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It may seem surprising that the English, who have employed their talents successfully in every branch of literature, and in none more than in that of philology, should yet have fallen below other nations in the study of their synonymes. It cannot, however, be denied that, while the French and Germans have had several considerable works on the subject, we have not a single writer who has treated it in a scientific manner adequate to its importance: not that I wish by this remark to depreciate the labors of those who have preceded me, but simply to assign it as a reason why I have now been induced to come forward with an attempt to fill up what is considered a chasm in English literature.
In the prosecution of my undertaking, I have profited by everything which has been written in any language upon the subject; and althongh I always pursued my own train of thought, yet whenever I met with anything deserving of notice I adopted it, and referred it to the author in a note. I had not proceeded far before I found it necessary to restrict myself in the choice of my materials, and accordingly laid it down as a rule not to compare any words together which were sufficiently distinguished from each other by striking features in their signification, such as abandon and quit, which require a comparison with others, though not necessarily with themselves; for the same reason I was obliged to limit myself, as a rule, to one authority for each word, unless where the case seemed to require further exemplification. But, notwithstanding all my care in this respect, I was compelled to curtail much of what I had written, for fear of increasing the volume to an inconvenient size. Although a work of this description does not afford much scope for
system and arrangement, yet I laid down to myself the plan of arranging the words according to the extent or universality of their acceptation, placing those first which had the most general sense and application, and the rest in order. By this plan I found myself greatly aided in analyzing their differences, and I trust that the reader will thereby be equally benefited. In the choice of authorities. I have been guided by various considerations,
namely, the appropriateness of the examples; the classic purity of the author; the justness of the sentiment; and, last of all, the variety of the writers. But I am persuaded that the reader will not be dissatisfied to find that I have shown a decided preference to such authors as Addison, Johnson, Dryden, Pope, Milton, etc. At the same time it is but jnst to observe that this selection of authorities has been made by an actual perusal of the authors, without the assistance of Johnson’s “Dictionary."
For the sentiments scattered through this work I offer po apology, although I am aware that they will not fall in with the views of many who may be competent to decide on its literary merits. I write not to please or displease any description of persons; but I trust that what I have written according to the dictates of my mind will meet the approbation of those whose good opinion I am most solicitous to obtain. Should any object to the introduction of morality in a work of science, I beg them to consider that a writer whose business it was to mark the nice shades of distinction between words closely allied could not do justice to his subject without entering into all the relations of society, and showing, from the acknowledged sense of many moral and religions terms, what has been the general sense of mankind on many of the most important questions which have agitated the world. My first object certainly has been to assist the philological inquirer in ascertaining the force and comprehension of the English language; yet I should have thought my work but half completed had I made it a mere register of verbal distinctions. While others seizo every opportunity unblushingly to avow and zealously to propagate opinions destructive of good order, it would ill become any individual of contrary sentimients to shrink from stating his convictions when called upon, as he seems to be, by an occasion like that which has now offered itself. As to the rest, I throw myself on the indulgence of the public, with the assurance that, having used every endeavor to deserve their approbation, I shall not make an appeal to their candor in vain.
TO ABANDON, DESERT, FORSAKE, RE
Things as well as persons may be LINQUISH.
abandoned, deserted, or forsaken ; things
only are relinquished. To abandon may The idea of leaving or separating one's be an act of necessity or discretion, as a self from an object is common to these captain abandons a vessel when it is no terms, which vary in the circumstances longer safe to remain in it. Desertion is of the action; the two former are more often a dereliction of duty, as to desert positive acts than the two latter. To one's post; and often an indifferent acABANDON, from the German ban, a tion, particularly in the sense of leaving proclamation of outlawry, signifying to any place which has had one's care and put out of the protection of the law; attention bestowed upon it, as people deor, a privative, and bandum, an ensign, sert a village, or any particular country i. e., to cast off, or leave one's colors; is where they have been established. Forto leave thoroughly, to withdraw protec- saking is an indifferent action, and imtion or support. To DESERT, in Latin plies simply the leaving something to desertus, from de privative, and sero, to which one has been attached in one sow; signifying to leave off sowing or form or another; a person forsakes a cultivating; and FORSAKE, compound certain house which he has been accused of the privative for and sake or seek, tomed to frequent; birds forsake their signifying to leave off seeking, are par- nests when they find them to have been tial modes of leaving; the former by discovered. TO RELINQUISH is an act withholding one's co-operation, the lat- of prudence or imprudence ; men often ter by withdrawing one's society. Aban- inadvertently relinquish the fairest prosdoning is a violation of the most sacred pects in order to follow some favorite ties, and exposes the object to every mis- scheme which terminates in their ruin. ery; desertion is a breach of honor and fidelity; it deprives a person of the as. If he hides it privately in the earth or other sistance or the countenance which he secret place, and it is discovered, the finder ac
quires no property therein, for the owner hath has a right to expect; by forsaking, the not by this act declared any intention to abunkindly feelings are hurt, and the social don it.
BLACKSTONE. ties are broken. A bad mother aban- He who at the approach of evil betrays his dons her offspring; a soldier deserts his trust, or deserts his post, is branded with cow.
ardice. comrades; a man forsakes his compan
HAWK ESWORTH. ions.
When learning, abilities, and what is excellent
in the world forsake the church, we may easily He who abandons his offspring or corrupts foretell its ruin without the gift of prophecy. them by his example, perpetrates a greater evil
SOUTH. than a murderer.
HAWKESWORTH. Men are wearied with the toil which they bear, After the death of Stella, Swift's benevolence but cannot find in their hearts to relinquish it. was contracted, and his severity exasperated: he
STEELS. drove his acquaintance from his table, and wondered why he was desertou.
JOHNSON. We may desert or forsake a place, but Forsake me not thus, Adam! Milton. I the former comprehends more than the
Their own abodes.
latter; a place that is deserted is left by nounce that which may be in our posses all, and left entirely, as described in sion only by an act of violence; a usurp
The Deserted Village. GOLDSMITH. er cannot be said properly to abandon his A place may be forsaken by individu- people or abdicate a throne, but he may
resign his power or renounce his pretenals or to a partial extent.
sions to a throne. Macdonald and Macleod have lost many of its tenants and laborers, but Kaarsa has not yet The passive Gods beheld the Greeks defile been forsaken by its inhabitants. JOHNSON
Their temples, and abundon to the spoil
DRYDEN. TO ABANDON, RESIGN, RENOUNCE,
It would be a good appendix to "the art of
living and dying," if any one would write “the ABDICATE
art of growing old," and teach men to resign
their pretensions to the pleasures of youth. The idea of giving up is common to
STEELE. these terms, which signification, though For ininisters to be silent in the cause of Christ analogous to the former, admits, howev. is to renounce it, and to fly is to desert it.
SOUTI. er, of this distinction, that in the one case we separate ourselves from an ob- Much gratitude is due to the Nine from their ject, in the other we send or cast it from even to the present hour they are invoked and
favored poets, and much hath been paid : for ABANDON, v. To abandon, desert. worshipped by the sons of verse, while all the RESIGN, from re and signo, signifies to other deities of Olympus have either abdicated sign away or back from one's self. RE- their thrones, or been dismissed from them with
CUMBERLAND. NOUNCE, in Latin renuncio, from nuncio, to tell or declare, is to declare off To abandon and resign are likewise from a thing. ABDICATE, from ab, used in a reflective sense; the former from, and dico, to speak, signifies like in the bad sense, to denote the giving wise to call or cry off from a thing. up the understanding to the passion, or
We abandon and resign by giving up the giving up one's self, mind, and body to another; we renounce by sending away to bad practices; the latter in the good from ourselves; we abandon a thing by sense, to denote the giving up one's will transferring it to another; in this man- and desires to one's circumstances or ner a debtor abandons his goods to his whatever is appointed. The soldiers of creditors : we resign a thing by transfer- Hannibal abandoned themselves to pleasring our possession of it to another; in ure at Capua. A patient man resigns this manner we resign a place to a friend; bimself to his fate, however severe that we renounce a thing by simply ceasing to may be. hold it; in this manner we renounce a Reason ever continues to accuse the business claim or a profession. As to renounce and injustice of the passions, and to disturb the signified originally to give up by word repose of those who abandon themselves to
their dominion. of mouth, and to resign to give up by sig
KENNETT. Pascal's Thoughts. nature, the former is consequently a less
It is the part of every good man's religion to formal action than the latter; we may resign himself to God's will. CUMBERLAND renounce by implication; we resign in di
When resign is taken in the bad sense, rect terms; we renounce the pleasures of it is not so complete a giving up of one's the world when we do not seek to enjoy self as abandonment. them; we resign a pleasure, a profit, or advantage, of which we expressly give edge, and pleasures, constitute, as may be, three
These three leading desires for honors, knowlup the enjoyment. To abdicate is a spe- factions, and thost whom we compliment with cies of informal resignation. A mon- the name of philosophers have really dor notharch abdicates his throne who simply de- ing else but resigned themselves to one of these
KENNETT. Puscal's Thoughts. clares his will to cease to reign; but a minister resigns his office when he gives
TO ABASE, HUMBLE, DEGRADE, DISup the seals by which he held it. We
GRACE, DEBASE. abandon nothing but that over which we have had an entire control; we abdicate To ABASE expresses the strongest denothing but that which we have held by gree of self-humiliation ; like the French a certain right, but we may resign or re- labaisser, it signifies literally to bring down
or make low, which is compounded of the abasement or humiliation, his greatness intensive syllable a or ad, and baisser, from protects him from degradation, and his bas, low, in Latin basis, the base, which is virtue shields him from disgrace. the lowest part of a column. It is at
'Tis immortality, 'tis that alone present used principally in the Scripture Amidst life's pains, abasements, emptiness, language, or in a metaphorical style, to The soul can comfort.
YOUNG. imply the laying aside all the high pre- If the mind be curbed and humbled too much tensions which distinguish us from our in children; if their spirits be abased and brofellow - creatures — the descending to a
ken much by too strict a hand over them, they state comparatively low and mean. To
lose all their vigor and industry. HUMBLE, in French humilier, from the To degrade has most regard to the exLatin humilis, humble, and humus, the ternal rank and condition, disgrace to the ground, naturally marks a prostration to moral estimation and character. Whatthe ground, and figuratively a lowering ever is low and mean is degrading for of the thoughts and feelings. According those who are not of mean condition ; to the principles of Christianity whoev- whatever is immoral is disgraceful to all, er abaseth himself shall be exalted, and but most so to those who ought to know according to the same principles whoev- better. It is degrading to a nobleman to er reflects on his own littleness and un- associate with prize-fighters and jockeys, worthiness will daily humble himself be- it is disgraceful for him countenance a fore his Maker. The abasement consists violation of the laws which he is bound in the greatest possible dejection of spir- to protect. The higher the rank of the it which, if marked by an outward act, individual, the greater is his degradation ; will lead to the utmost prostration of the the higher his previous character, or the body; humbling, in comparison with abase- more sacred his office, the greater his ment, is an ordinary sentiment and ex- disgrace if he act inconsistent with its pressed in the ordinary way.
duties. Absorbed in that immensity I see,
So deplorable is the degradation of our natI shrink abased, and yet aspire to thee.
ures, that whereas before we were the image of COWPER. God, we now only retain the image of men.
Soutu. My soul is justly humbled in the dust.
He that walketh uprightly, is secure as to his Abase and humble have regard to per- honor and credit ; he is sure not to come of dissons considered absolutely, degrade and gracefully either at home in his own approbadisgrace to their relative situation. To tion, or abroad in the estimation of men. DEGRADE (v. To disparage) signifies to lower in the estimation of others. It
Persons may sometimes be degraded supposes a state of elevation either in and disgraced at the will of others, but outward circumstances or in public opin- with a similar distinction of the words. ion. To DISGRACE, compounded of the He who is not treated with the outward privative dis and grace, or favor, prop
honor and respect he deserves is de erly implies to put out of favor, which graded; he who is not regarded with the is always attended with circumstances of same kindness as before is disgraced. more or less ignominy. To abase and
When a hero is to be pulled down and dehumble one's self may be meritorious graded, it is best done in doggerel. acts as suited to the infirmity and falli.
Philips died honored and lamented before any bility of human nature, but to degrade or part of his reputation had withered, and before disgrace one's self is always a culpable his patron St. Johan had disgraced him. act. The penitent man humbles himself, the contrite man abases himself, the man These terms may be employed with a of rank degrades himself by a too famil- similar distinction in regard to things, and iar deportment with his inferiors, he dis- in that case they are comparable with graces bimself by his vices. The great debase. To DEBASE, from the intensive and good man may also be abased and syllable de and base, signifying to make humbled without being degraded or dis- base, is applied to whatever may lose its graced ; his glory follows him in his purity or excellence.