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Answer

is the Old English and-swaru, verb and swar-ian or swerian, where And is the preposition = the Latin re in re-spond-eo. (See Swear.)

To answer like a Norman, that is, evasively.

We say, in France, ‘Answering like a Norman,ʹ which means to give an evasive answer, neither yes nor no.”—Max OʹRell; Friend MʹDonald, ch. v.

To answer its purpose, to carry out what was expected or what was intended. Celsus says, “Medicīna sæpius respondet, interdum tamen fallit.”

To answer the bell is to go and see what it was rung for.

To answer the door is to go and open it when a knock or ring has been given.

In both the last two instances the word is “answering to a summons.” To swear means literally “to affirm something,” and to an-swear is to “say something” by way of rejoinder; but figuratively both the “swer” and the “answer” may be made without words.


“… . My story being done, …

She [Desdemona] swore [affirmed] ʹtwas strange, … .

ʹTwas pitiful, ʹtwas wondrous pitiful.”


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

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Annie Laurie
Annulo Dei figuram ne gestato (In)
Annunciation
Annus Luctus
Annus Mirabillis
Anodyne Necklace (An)
Anomœans
Anon
Anon-rightes. Right quickly
Ansarian
Answer
Answer more Scotico (To)
Antæos
Antecedents
Antediluvian
Anthia
Anthony
Anthroposophus
Anti-Christ
Antigonē
Antimony