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Begin and commence are so strictly allied in signi- and unqualified term ; to form signifies to give a form fication, that it is not easy to discover the difference to a thing, that is, to make it after a given form (v. in their application ; although a minute difference does Form); to produce (v. To effect) is to bring forth exist. To begin respects the order of time; · When into the light, to call into existence; to create (v. beginning to act your part, what can be of greater To cause) is to bring into existence by an absolute moment than to regulate your plan of conduct with the exercise of power : to make is the simplest action of most serious attention ? Blair. To commence implies all, and comprehends a simple combination by the the exertion of setting about a thing ; . By the desti- smallest efforts; to form requires care and attention, nation of his Creator, and the necessities of his na- and greater efforts ; to produce requires time, and also ture, man commences at once an active, not merely a labor: whatever is put together so as to become ancontemplative being.' Blair. Whoever begins a dis- other thing, is made ; a chair or a table is made : pute is termed the aggressor; no one should com- whatever is put into any distinct form is formed; the mence a dispute unless he can calculate the conse- potter forms the clay into an earthen vessel : whatquences, and as this is impracticable, it is better never ever emanates from a thing, so as to become a distinct to commence disputes, particularly such as are to be object, is produced ; fire is often produced by the decided by law. Begin is opposed to end : commence violent friction of two pieces of wood with each other. to complete: a person begins a thing with a view of The process of making is always performed by some ending it; he commences a thing with a view of com- conscious agent, who employs either mechanical means, pleting it.
or the simple exercise of power : a bird makes its To begin is either transitive or intransitive; to nest; man makes various things, by the exercise of commence is mostly transitive: a speaker begins by his understanding and his limbs; the Almighty Maker apologizing; he commences his speech with an apo- has made every thing by his word. The process of logy: happiness frequently ends where prosperity forming does not always require a conscious agent ; begins; whoever commences any undertaking, with things are likewise formed of themselves; or they are out estimating his own power, must not expect to formed by the active operations of other bodies ; succeed.
melted lead, when thrown into water, will form itself To begin is used either for things or persons; to into globules and masses of various shapes ; hard commence for persons only: all things have their be- substances are formed in the human body which give ginning; in order to effect any thing, we must make rise to the disease termed the gravel. What is proà commencement: a word begins with a particular duced is oftener produced by the process of nature, letter, or a line begins with a particular word; a than by any express design ; the earth produces als person commences his career. Lastly, begin is more kinds of vegetables from seed; animals, by a similar colloquial than commence: thus we say, to begin the process, produce their young. Create, in this natural work; to commence the operation : to begin one's sense of the term, is employed as the act of an intelplay; to commence the pursuit: to begin to write ; to ligent being, and that of the Supreme Being only; it commence the letter.
is the act of making by a simple effort of power, To commence and enter upon are as closely allied without the use of materials, and without any process. in sense as the former words ; they differ principally They are all employed in the moral sense, and with in application : to commence seems rather to denote a similar distinction : make is indefinite; we may the making an experiment;
make a thing that is difficult or easy, simple or comIf wit so much from ign’rance undergo,
plex ; we may make a letter, or make a poem ; we Ah! Let not learning too commence its foe! Pope. may make a word, or make a contract ; • In every To enter upon, that of first doing what has not been he could not maintain, he never could by any motive
treaty those concessions which he (Charles I.) thought tried before: we commence an undertaking ; * If any or persuasion be induced to make.? HUME. To form man has a mind to enter upon such a voluntary ab- is the work either of intelligence, or of circumstances : stinence, it might not be improper to give him the education has much to do in forming the habits, but caution of Pythagoras, in particular : Abstine a fabis, nature has more to do in forming the disposition and that is, say the interpreters, “ meddle not with elec
the mind altogether; sentiments are frequently formed tions." ' Addison. We enter upon an employment: by young people before they have sufficient maturity speculating people are very ready to commence of thought and knowledge to justify them in coming schemes; considerate people are always averse to en
to any decision ; · Homer's and Virgil's heroes do not tering upon any office, until they feel themselves fully form a resolution without the conduct and direction adequate to discharge its duties.
of some deity. ADDISON. To produce is the effect of great mental exertion; or it is the natural operation
of things : no industry could ever produce a poem or TO MAKE, FORM, PRODUCE, CREATE.
a work of the imagination : but a history or a work of
science may be produced by the force of mere labor. The idea of giving birth to a thing is common to All things, both in the moral and intellectual world, are all these terms, which vary in the circumstances of linked together upon the simple principle of cause and the action: to make (v. To make) is the most general effect, by which one thing is the producer, and the other the thing produced: quarrels produce hatred, and kind- rect; a conformation to be good or bad. Heathens ness produces love; as heat produces inflammation have worshipped the Deity under various forms : maand fever, or disease produces death; A supernatural thematical figures are the only true figures with which effect is that which is above any natural power, that we are acquainted : the craniologist affects to judge of we know of, to produce.' Tillotson. Since genius characters by the conformation of the skull. is a spark of the Divine power that acts by its own Form and figure are used in a moral application, independent agency, the property of creation has although conformation is not. been figuratively ascribed to it: the creative power of We speak of adopting a form of faith, a form of the human mind is a faint emblem of that power which words, a form of godliness ; brought every thing into existence out of nothing.
O ceremony! show me but thy worth, A wondrous hieroglyphic robe she wore,
Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form, In which all colours and all figures were,
Creating fear and awe in other men? SHAKSPEARE. That nature or that fancy can create. Cowley.
We speak of cutting a showy, a dismal, or ridiculous figure ; « Those who make the greatest figure in most
arts and sciences are universally allowed to be of the FORM, FIGURE, CONFORMATION.
British nation.' Addison. Form may also sometimes
be taken for the person who presents the form ; Form, in French forme, Latin forma, most proba
Lo, in the deep recesses of the wood, bly from cópnuce and popéw to bear, signifies properly Before my eyes a beauteous form appears; the image borne or stamped; figure (v. Figure) sig- A virgin's dress, and modest looks, she wears. nifies the image feigned or conceived ; conformation,
WYNNE. in French conformation, in Latin conformatio, from conform, signifies the image disposed or put together.
The word figure is also used in a similar manner. * Form is the generic term ; figure and conformation are special terms. The form is the work either of nature or art; it results from the arrangement of
TO FORM, FASHION, MOULD, SHAPE. the parts: the figure is the work of design: it includes the general contour or outline : the conformation includes such a disposition of the parts of a body as is
To form is to put into a form, which is here as
before (v. Form) the generic term: to fashion is to adapted for performing certain functions. Form is
put into a particular or distinct form: to mould is to the property of every substance; and the artificial
put into a set form: to shape is to form simply as it form approaches nearest to perfection, as it is most
respects the exterior. As every thing receives a form natural;
when it receives existence, to form conveys the idea Matter, as wise logicians say,
of producing; · Horace was intimate with a prince of Cannot without a form subsist,
the greatest goodness and humanity imaginable ; and And form, say I as well as they,
his court was formed after his example.' STEELE. Must fail if matter brings no grist. Swift.
When we wish to represent a thing as formed in any The figure is the fruit of the imagination; it is the
distinct or remarkable way, we may speak of it as representation of the actual form that belongs to fashioned ; * By the best information that I could things ; it is more or less just as it approaches to the get of this matter, I am apt to think that this prodiform of the thing itself; · When Cæsar was one of gious pile was fashioned into the shape it now bears the masters of the Roman mint, he placed the figure by several tools and instruments, of which they have of an elephant upon the reverse of the public money;
a wonderful variety in this country.' Addison. God the word Cæsar signifying an elephant in the Punic formed man out of the dust of the ground; he falanguage.' Addison. Conformation is said only with shioned him after his own image. When we wish to regard to animal bodies ; nature renders it more or represent a thing as formed according to a precise less suitable according to the accidental concurrence rule, we should say it was moulded ; thus the habits of physical causes ; As the conformation of their of a man are moulded at the will of a superior; organs are nearly the same in all men, so the manner
How dare you, mother, endless date demand, of perceiving external objects is in all men the same.'
For vessels moulded by a mortal hand ?
DRYDEN. BURKE. The erect form of man is one of the distinguishing marks of his superiority over every other terres- When we wish to represent a thing as receiving the trial being: the human
figure when well painted is an accidental qualities which distinguish it from others, object of admiration : the turn of the mind is doubtless we talk of shaping it: the potter shapes the clay ; influenced by the conformation of the bodily organs. the milliner shapes the bonnet ; a man shapes his A person's form is said to be handsome or ugly, com- actions to the humors of another; Those nature mon or uncommon ; his figure to be correct or incor- hath shaped with a great head, narrow breast, and
• Vide Girard : “ Façon, figure, forme, conformation."
shoulders sticking out, seem much inclined to a con
FORMAL, CEREMONIOUS. sumption.' Harvey. Nature has formed all animated beings with an in
Formal and ceremonious, from form and ceremony stinctive desire of self-preservation. Creatures fa- (v. Form, ceremony), are either taken in an indifferent shioned like ourselves with flesh and blood cannot at- sense with respect to what contains form and ceretain to the perfection of spiritual beings. It is sup- mony, or in a bad sense, as expressing the excess of posed by some that the human mind may be moulded form and ceremony. A person expects to have a
the principles of art at the will of the instructor, formal dismissal before he considers himself as diswith the same ease that wax may be shaped into the missed ; people of fashion pay each other ceremonious figure of a bird, a beast, or a man, at the pleasure of visits, by way of keeping up a distant intercourse. the artist. This is however true only in part.
Whatever communications are made from one government to another must be made in a formal manner; "As there are formal and written leagues, respective
to certain enemies; so there is a natural and tacit TO FORM, COMPOSE, CONSTITUTE.
confederation, amongst all men against the common
enemies of human society. Bacon. It is the busiForm (v. Form, figure) signifies to give a form ;
ness of the church to regulate the ceremonious part compose has the same signification as given under the of religion. Under a different oconomy of religion, head To compose, settle ; and constitute that given
God was more tender of the shell and ceremonious under the head of To constitute.
part of his worship.' South. Form is a generic and indefinite term. To compose
Formal, in the bad sense, is opposed to easy: cereand constitute are modes of forming. These words
monious to the cordial. A formal carriage prevents may be employed either to designate modes of action, a person from indulging himself in the innocent famior to characterize things. Things may be formed liarities of friendly intercourse ; either by persons or things; they are composed and
Formal in apparel, constituted only by conscious agents: thus persons In gait and countenance surely like a father. form things, or things form one another : thus we
SHAKSPEARE, form a circle, or the reflection of the light after rain
A ceremonious carriage puts a stop to all hospitality forms a rainbow. Persons compose and constitute : thus a musician composes a piece of music, or men
and kindness. Princes, in their formal intercourse
with each other, know nothing of the pleasures of soconstitute laws. Form in regard to persons is the act ciety; ceremonious visitants give and receive enterof the will and determination;
tainments, without tasting any of the enjoyments which The liquid ore he drain’d
flow from the reciprocity of kind offices; From the Into fit molds prepar'd; from which he form’d
moment one sets up for an author, one must be treated First his own tools. MILTON.
as ceremoniously, that is, as unfaithfully, “as a king's
” ' POPE. Compose is a work of the intellect ; « Words so pleasing favourite, or as a king. to God as those which the son of God himself hath composed, were not possible for men to frame.' HOOKER. Constitute is an act of power, which men must submit
TO CAUSE, OCCASION, CREATE. We form a party; we form a plan; we compose a book; men constitute governments, offices, &c. To cause, from the substantive cause, naturally
When employed to characterize things, form signi- signifies to be the cause of; occasion, from the noun fies simply to have a form, be it either simple or com- occasion, signifies to be the occasion of; create, in plex ; compose and constitute are said only of those Latin creatus, participle of creo, comes from the things which have complex forms: the former as re- Greek xpéw to command, and xepalyo to perform. specting the material, the latter the essential parts of
What is caused seems to follow naturally; what is an object : thus we may say that an object forms a occasioned follows incidentally; what is created recircle, or a semicircle, or the segment of a circle; ceives its existence arbitrarily. A wound causes pain; • All animals of the same kind which form a society accidents occasion delay; busy-bodies create mischief. are more knowing than others.' Addison. A society The misfortunes of the children cause great afflicis composed of individuals ;
tion to the parents; Nor did Israel scape
Scarcely an ill to human life belongs, Th' infection, when their borrow'd gold composed
But what our follies cause, or mutual wrongs. The calf in Oriel. Milton.
JenyNS. Law and order constitute the essence of society; Business occasions a person's late attendance at a • To receive and to communicate assistance constitutes place; “The good Psalmist condemns the foolish the happiness of human life.' JOHNSON. So letters thoughts which a reflection on the prosperous state of and syllables compose a word; but sense is essential to his affairs had sometimes occasioned in him.' ATTERconstitute a word.
Disputes and misunderstandings create ani
mosity and ill will; “As long as the powers or abilities energy; we mark the number of acts which may serve which are ascribed to others are exerted in a sphere of to designate a habit or character : we speak of a lively, action remote from ours, and not brought into compe- vehement, or impetuous action ; a man of action, in tition with talents of the same kind to which we have distinction from à mere talker or an idler; whatever pretensions, they create no jealousy. BLAIR. The rests without influence or movement has lost its action: cause of a person's misfortunes may often be traced to we speak of many acts of a particular kind; we call his own misconduct: the improper behaviour of one him a fool who commits continued acts of folly ; and person may occasion another to ask for an explana- him a niggard who commits nothing but acts of meantion : jealousies are created in the minds of relatives by an unnecessary reserve and distance.
Action is a continued exertion of power : act is a single exertion of power; the physical movement; the simple acting. Our actions are our works in the
strict sense of the word ; our acts are the operations of TO MAKE, DO, ACT.
our faculties. The character of a man must be judged
by his actions ; the merit of actions depends on the Make, in Dutch maken, Saxon macan, &c. comes motives that give rise to them: the act of speaking is from the Greek pengavn art, signifying to put together peculiar to man ; but the acts of walking, running, with art; do, in German thun, comes probably from eating, &c. are common to all animals. the Greek Grīvas to put, signifying to put, or put in Actions
may be considered either singly or collectorder, to bring to pass; act, in Latin actus, from ago ively; acts are regarded only individually and specito direct, signifies literally to put in motion.
fically: we speak of all a man's actions, but not all We cannot make without doing, but we may do his acts ; we say a good action, a virtuous action, a (1. To act) without making : to do is simply to move charitable action ; but an act, not an action of goodfor a certain end; to make is to do, so as to bring ness, an act of virtue, an act of faith, an act of chasomething into being, which was not before: we make rity, and the like. It is a good action to conceal the a thing what it was not before ; we do a thing in the faults of our neighbours; but a rare act of charity same manner as we did it before: what is made is
among men. Many noble actions are done in private, either better or worse, or the same as another ;
the consciousness of which is, the only reward of the
doer; the wisest of men may occasionally commit acts Empire! thou poor and despicable thing !
of folly which are not imputable to their general chaWhen such as these make and unmake a king.
racter; Many of those actions which are apt to pro
cure fame are not in their nature conducive to our What is done, is done either wisely or unwisely; ultimate happiness. Addison. Nothing can be a
greater act of imprudence than not to take an occaWhat shall I do to be for ever known, And make the age to come my own. Cowley.
sional review of our past actions ; I desire that the
same rule may be extended to the whole fraternity We act whenever we do any thing, but we may act of heathen gods; it being my design to condemn without doing any thing: The verb act is always every poem to the flames, in which Jupiter thunders intransitive, and do transitive; we do something, but or exercises any act of authority which does not belong not act something. The act approaches nearest to
to him.' ADDISON. the idea of move; it is properly the exertion of power Action f is a term applied to whatever is done in corporeal or mental: do is closely allied to effect; it is general; act to that which is remarkable or that the producing an effect by such an exertion. They requires to be distinguished. The sentiments of the oct very unwisely who attempt to do more than their heart are easier to be discovered by one's actions, than abilities will enable them to complete : whatever we by one's words: it is an heroic act to forgive our do, let us be careful to act considerately ; We have enemy, when we are in a condition to be revenged on made this a maxim, “ That a man who is commonly him. The good man is cautious in all his actions to called good-natured is hardly to be thanked for what avoid even the appearance of evil : a great prince is he does, because half that is acted about him is done anxious to mark every year by some distinguished act rather by his sufferance than approbation." ' STEELE.
of wisdom or virtue.
Act and deed are both employed for what is remarkable ; but act denotes only one single thing done ;
Who forth from nothing call’d this comely frame, ACTION, AÇT, DEED.
His will and act, his word and work the same. PRIOR. The words action, act, and deed, though derived Deed implies some complicated performance, somefrom the preceding verbs, have an obvious distinction thing achieved: we display but one quality or power in their meaning:
in performing an act; we display many, both physical * We mark the degrees of action which indicate and mental, in performing a deed. A prince distinguishes himself by acts of mercy; the commander of achievements of knight-errants or of great coman army by martial deeds ;
*Roubaud: “ Acte, action.”
+ Girard : “ Action, acte."
manders ; I on the other side
Great spoils and trophies gain’d by thee they bear, Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds ;
Then let thy own achievements be thy share. DRYDEN. The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer. MILTON.
Feat approaches nearest to exploit in signification ;
the former marks skill, and the latter resolution. The Acts of disobedience in youth frequently lead to the feats of chivalry displayed in justs and tournaments perpetration of the foulest deeds in more advanced
were in former times as much esteemed as warlike exlife.
Much I have heard
MILTON. DEED, EXPLOIT, ACHIEVEMENT, FEAT.
Exploit and feat are often used in derision, to mark Deed, from do, expresses the thing done ; exploit, the absence of those qualities in the actions of indivi. in French exploit, most probably changed from expli- duals. The soldier who affects to be foremost in sicatus, signifies the thing unfolded or displayed; tuations where there is no danger cannot be more achievement, from achieve, signifies the thing achieved; properly derided than by terming his action an exfeat, in French fait, Latin factum, from facio, sig- ploit: he who prides himself on the display of skill in nifies the thing done.
the performance of a paltry trick may be laughed at The first three words rise progressively on each for having performed a feat. other: deeds, compared with the others, is employed for that which is ordinary or extraordinary; exploit and achievement are used only for the extraordinary ; the latter in a higher sense than the former.
ACTION, GESTURE, GESTICULATION, Deeds must always be characterized as good or bad, POSTURE, ATTITUDE, POSITION. magnanimous or atrocious, and the like, except in poetry, where the term becomes elevated;
Action is either the act of acting, or the manner of
acting; gesture, in French geste, Latin gestus, parGreat Pollio! thou for whom thy Rome prepares The ready triumph of thy finish'd wars ;
ticiple of gero to carry one's self, signifies the manner Is there in fate an hour reserv'd for me
of carrying one's body; gesticulation, in Latin gesTo sing thy deeds in numbers worthy thee? Dryden. ticulatio, comes from gesticulor to make many ges
tures ; posture, in French posture, Latin positura a Exploit and achievement do not necessarily require osition, comes from positus, participle of pono, signiany epithets; they are always taken in the proper fying the manner of placing one's self; attitude, in sense for something great. Exploit, when compared French attitude, Italian attitudine, is changed from with achievement, is a term used in plain prose; it aptitude, signifying a propriety as to disposition. designates not so much what is great as what is real : All these terms are applied to the state of the body; achievement is most adapted to poetry and romance; the former three indicating a state of motion ; the it soars above what the eye sees, and the ear hears, and latter two a state of rest. Action respects the moveaffords scope for the imagination. Martial deeds are ments of the body in general ; gesture is an action as interesting to the reader as to the performer : the indicative of some particular state of mind; gesticupages of modern history will be crowded with the
lation is a species of artificial gesture. Raising the exploits of Englishmen both by sea and land, as those arm is an action ; bowing is a gesture. of ancient and fabulous history are with the achieve- Actions may be ungraceful; gestures indecent. ments of their heroes and demi-gods. An exploit A suitable action sometimes gives great force to the marks only personal bravery in action ; an achieve- words that are uttered; * Cicero concludes his celement denotes elevation of character in every respect, brated book“ de Oratore with some precepts for grandeur of design, promptitude in execution, and pronunciation and action, without which part he valor in action.
affirms that the best orator in the world can never sucAn exploit may be executed by the design and at ceed.' Hughes. Gestures often supply the place of the will of another; a common soldier or an army may language between people of different nations ; Our perform exploits ;
best actors are somewhat at a loss to support them
selves with proper gesture, as they move from any High matter thou injoin'st me, O prime of men ! Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate
considerable distance to the front of the stage.' To human sense th' invisible exploits
STEELE. Actions characterize a man as vulgar or Of warring spirits ? Milton.
well-bred ; gestures mark the temper of the mind.
There are many actions which it is the object of eduAn achievement is designed and executed by the cation to prevent from growing into habits: savages achiever ; Hercules is distinguished for his achieve- express the vehement passions of the mind, by vehements: and in the same manner we speak of the ment gestures on every occasion, even in their amuse