Aloud

“Aloud” uses the “a-” preposition 1 meaning, in the situation of loudness.

  • 01.059 he said aloud.
  • 01.137 and accidentally said it aloud.
  • 05.063 he said aloud.
  • 06.088 and he found himself saying aloud:
  • 12.060 he said aloud.
  • 12.067 and Smaug laughed aloud.
  • 12.077 exclaimed Bilbo aloud,
  • 13.010 he squeaked aloud.
  • 13.033 They spoke aloud,
  • 13.040 Thorin!’ he cried aloud.

“aloud, adv. and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Aloft

“Aloft” for both Bilbo’s tiny light by which he finds the Arkenstone and for holding up the Arkenstone itself.  The “a-” comes from the old phrase ‘on loft” and the “a-” preposition 1 use, position within a situation: the object is in the situation of being up there in loftiness.  Or in the loft, if you prefer.

  • 13.018 start across the floor holding his tiny light aloft.
  • 17.008 and held aloft the jewel.

“a, prep.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“aloft, adv. and prep.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Allude

How interesting that we only see the word “allude” in one chapter!  This word uses the Latin prefix ad- ludere, “to play at” someone, “to imitate or mock”, and eventually as we use it, “to refer”.

  • 10.003 alluding to him chiefly with a curse
  • 10.036 no songs had alluded to him even

“allude, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Alike

Gandalf says it with regard to Bilbo’s share of the troll treasure, a nice homey aphorism for coming home.  Our good friends at the OED report that “alike” probably has multiple sources.  The Scandinavian and German roots of the word use prefix 3 (“on” and “onto”), and the other source is Middle and obsolete Modern English “ylike”, the “y-” prefix indicating completeness being reduced to “a-” prefix 2.

  • 19.026 and share alike!

“a-, prefix2.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“a-, prefix3.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“alike, adv.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Alight

By analogy with “afire”, we have here another instance of “a-” preposition 1, being in the situation.  But not so fast!  That comparison was fabricated after the development of the word – the adjective is from the past participle of the verb “alight”, which uses the “a-” prefix 1, motion onward, adding intensity.  That would be the second verb “alight” the meaning of which is “illuminate”.  Yet we must not grab too fast onto that meaning, as there’s plenty of evidence supporting “a-” prefix 3 with the senses “on” or “onto”.

The Chapter 15 word – the first verb “alight” – also, thank goodness, uses the “a-” prefix 1, motion onward.  Its obsolete meaning “to lighten” has moved over time to mean “descend and settle” when used of a creature in flight.

  • 06.064 Then he set one alight with bright blue fire,
  • 06.065 and setting others alight,
  • 06.070 had set it alight
  • 13.017 Oin with a small pine-torch alight
  • 15.013 He alighted stiffly on the ground before them,

“a-, prefix1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“a-, prefix3.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“alight, adj. and adv.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“alight, v.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“alight, v.2.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Alert

I’m delighted to find a new source for the “a-” prefix.  This one is from French à l’herte, on the lookout.

  • 05.123 but now he was on the alert,
  • 05.132 They were aroused, alert,
  • 12.098 his other was alert for echoes

“alert, adj. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Alas

I am surprised to see this word classed as archaic by the OED, but it’s their call.  This interjection expressing grief is related to the word “lassitude” and the obsolete “a-” interjection particle indicates admiration, surprise, or invocation.

  • 14.027 Alas that he is lost!’
  • 17.041 Alas!

“a, int.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“alas, int. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Ajar

When is a door not a door?  When it’s ajar.  This word is only used once in our text, at the crucial spot where Bilbo escapes the goblin mountain by squeezing through the door left slightly ajar.  The “a-” is preposition 1, expressing being in a situation.  But what situation?  “On char” is an  obsolete way of saying “in the act of turning or shutting” but not yet shut.  From “char” we get “chore” – an occasional turn of work.

  • 05.142 It was still ajar,

“a, prep.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“ajar, adv.1 and adj.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“chare | char, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Afresh

It’s an adverb, “freshly” and we have a new “a-” to add to our understanding.  “A-” prefix 4 is a reduced form of “of-” prefix, indicating “of, from, off, or away”.  I suggest in this case it is “of” as in “of freshness”.

  • 01.059 and set out everything afresh.

“a-, prefix4.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“afresh, adv.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

Afoot

“A-” preposition 1 strikes again, a reduced form of “on foot” – a phrase still very much in use – and indicating a situation in the middle of.  I can picture a member of the infantry from any century in human history, just being in the middle of the foot situation, no way out but through.

  • 06.069 to know what was afoot;
  • 07.122 there was more wickedness than this afoot,
  • 15.002 as if a battle were afoot!’

“a, prep.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

“afoot, adv. and adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.