bewray

By: | Post date: 2017-02-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Linguistics

The Magister tripped me up this morning with the very first sentence I saw from him.

Michael Masiello’s answer to How do I avoid atheists? I have this fear that atheists will ridicule me for being a theist.

Andrew Weill and others have bewrayed the remarkable difficulty of your undertaking.

Bewrayed? Bewrayed? Obviously no typo for betrayed. Well, not that obvious: the Magister is at times a bit of a butterfingers. But certainly worth checking out.

the definition of bewray

verb (used with object), Archaic.

Archaic. No shit.

  1. to reveal or expose.
  2. to betray.

So I guessed right. And it would seem quite possible that the current verb betray has coloured the modern interpretation of the archaic verb bewray. What is the etymology, anyway?

1250-1300; Middle English bewraien, equivalent to be- be- + wraien, Old English wrēgan to accuse, cognate with Old High German ruogen (German rügen), Gothic wrohjan

Right. So something that accuses you, gives you away, if you will. Which is pretty close to “betraying” you, and looks like that meaning has merged into it.

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