- skip - Brewer’s

All to break (Judges ix. 53)

.

“A certain woman cast a piece of millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull” does not mean for the sake of breaking his skull, but that she wholly smashed his skull. A spurious form, owing its existence to a typographical mistake. The to really belongs to the verb; and in the last passage quoted it should be read “all to-brake.” The to is a Teutonic particle, meaning asunder, in pieces. It is very common in Old English, where we have “To-bite,” i.e. bite in pieces, tocleave, to-rend, to-tear. All is the adverb = entirely, wholly. So “all to bebattered” = wholly battered to pieces. All-to-frozen. Here to-frozen is intensitive. So in Latin dis-crucior = valde crucior. Plautus (in his Menœchmi, ii. line 24) uses the phrase “dis-caveas malo,” i.e. be fully on your guard, etc., be very much beware of.

Gothic, dis; O. N., tor; Old High German, zar; Latin, dis; Greek, de.


“Mercutio’s icy hand had all-to-frozen mine” i.e. wholly frozen up mine).—Romeo and Juliet (1362).


“Her wings were al-to-ruffled and sometimes impaired.”—Milton: Comus.

previous entry · index · next entry

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

All is not gold that glitters or glisters
All my Eye (and) Betty Martin
All one
All-overish
All Saints
All Serene
All Souls Day
All the go
All there
All this for a Song!
All to break (Judges ix. 53)
All waters (I am for)
All-work
Alla or Allah (that is, al-ilah)
Alla Akbar
Allan-a-Dale
Allemand
Allen
Allestree
Alley (The)
Alliensis (Dies) (June 16th, B.C. 390)