1893 text

To forsooth is to address in a polite and ceremonious manner. “Your city-mannerly word forsooth, use it not too often in any case.”—Ben Jonson’s Poetaster, act iv., sc. 1.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

First Reading

indoctus  •  Link

nice ancient word : Alfred sayeth ??"forsooth I burnt the B***** scones"
2 entries by S. Peeps too.
Forsooth adv. Forms: 1 forsó......(e, 4 south. vorzo..e, 3-6 forsoth(e, (3 forsotht (h, 4 for-suth, 4 forsoothe), 4-5 Sc. for-suth, (4 Sc. fursuth, 5 for-sute, Sc. -suith), 6 forsouth, (Sc. -soith), 6- forsooth.
[OE. forsó f. for prep + sooth [one word] a. In truth, truly.
Also in phrase, forsooth to say, forsooth and forsooth (cf. verily, verily), forsooth and God. Obs.
2. quasi-n. An act of saying forsooth.
1642 R. CARPENTER Experience I. xiv. 107 After every word even when they speake to young greene Boyes, they come with yes forsooth, and no forsooth.
1667 PEPYS Diary 25 Mar., By and by comes Mr. Lowther and his wife and mine, and into a box, forsooth, neither of them being dressed

b. Now only used parenthetically with an ironical or derisive statement.
c888 K. ÆLFRED
Hence for sooth n., one who uses the word frequently,
an affected speaker. forsooth v. trans. to say 'forsooth' to, treat ceremoniously.
1604 B. JONSON Penates Wks. (Rtldg.) 541 You sip so like a forsooth of the city.
1660-1 PEPYS Diary 16 Jan., The sport was how she had intended to have kept herself unknown, and how the Captaine..of the Charles had forsoothed her, though he knew her well and she him.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

FORSOOTH, an Interjection of Contempt or Derision; also a Title of Respect and Submission used by a Servant to a Mistress, etc.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.