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I'm having trouble believing that this is a single Modern English word and not a scanno or Middle English. DCDuringTALK 01:23, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Our reference, the 1911 Century Dictionary, has this:
tocome†, v. i. [ME., < to1 + come.] To come to; approach.
These to-comen to Conscience and to Cristyne peuple.
Piers Plowman (C), xxii. 343.
which seems to justify your disbelief.
—RuakhTALK 02:28, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
In Dalrymple's Leslie's History of Scotland of 1596 we have it: ‘He [...] wastes, burnes, and slayes al that he tocumis’, where "tocomes" means "comes to". It probably survived longer north of the border. There is very little research on it in the OED. It needs some proper examination of older texts, which Google Books is poor at. Ƿidsiþ 12:53, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
A second reference is Coleridge, A dictionary of the first, or oldest words in the English language, which has an entry for tocome (same def.). In addition, I found a few nominal uses of the word in The poetical works of Gavin Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld and Virgil's Aeneid (keyword: "now this tocome" or "the contyr or first tocome") meaning "an approach, an onset". Leasnam 23:36, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
1939, Joyce, Finnegans wake uses tocoming. This work is Modern English. A Wake newslitter also uses this term. Does this need to be changed to (dialectal or obsolete) perhaps with a special emphasis on Scottish and Irish: (obsolete or dialectal, chiefly Scotland,Ireland)? Leasnam 00:15, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
But Gavin Douglas wrote in Scots, not English.--Prosfilaes 00:41, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Right. So we can disregard those works. Leasnam 02:00, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Tocome (also tocum) are entried as both verb and noun (with derivative tocum(m)ing) in the Scots dictionary. How often is the occurrence of these words in Scottish English? Does anyone know? Even if it's the word cosmetically written as to come (= approach, come to), which I have seen done. Leasnam 02:08, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
The difference between Scots and Scottish English is more of a state of mind than a linguistic fact. We may not be able to cite this, although I very strongly suspect it was still in use in early modern English. Also, I must say I'm uncomfortable with using Finnegans Wake as a citation source, unless we're quoting from one of the (few) passages written in standard English as opposed to Joycean awesomeness. Ƿidsiþ 08:58, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
From Middle English to + come seems to imply it was formed in Modern English, or else it would be from Middle English tocome (not to + come). Mglovesfun (talk) 10:00, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
Correct. It is from ME, composed of ME equivalents of to + come. Leasnam 17:28, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused a Modern English dictionary listing this as Modern English justifies disbelief? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:04, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Your phrase "a Modern English dictionary listing this as Modern English" is understandable, but IMHO not very well-supported. The headword slot indicates it's obsolete; the etymology slot says this is “ME.” (not “< ME.”, as is done with some words); and the sole citation is in what we would call Middle English. I'm open to the possibility that the dictionary is a Modern English dictionary that only lists words that made it into what we call Modern English, but I haven't seen compelling evidence of that. On the contrary, I see evidence that the dictionary does not consider this word to be what we would consider Modern English. —RuakhTALK 16:56, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. It is ambiguous no doubt. The normal ME form for the verb would be tocomen rather than tocome, which this word is clearly indicated as a verb. Leasnam 16:26, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
The Century dictionary appears to be very inconsistent in its etymology format: Compare todash (" < ME. todashen...") with tobreak or toburst ("ME. tobreken..."; "ME. tobresten..."), which shows that sometimes they use " < ME." and sometimes they do not. Leasnam 16:42, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Added 3 citations to the entry. Leasnam 00:33, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't think any of those are valid: the Dalrymple cite is actually Scots, and the Caxton cites seem to be using tocoming as an adjective meaning "soon-to-be". (Plus, they're not independent of each other.) —RuakhTALK 03:27, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I think I've actually found a suitable one. It's in a letter from James III to King Richard III (therefore it is post 1483), written in what appears to be Scottish English (there are definite Scottish characteristics, but it isn't today's Scots to be sure), where James uses tocome twice as tocum. The spelling of this word may have still been variant (Middle English also having tocumen beside tocomen; cf. betwixt vs. betuix within same passage). Otherwise, if indeed the term itself is a Scots word, it is used in English (?--EME?) context, analogous to how foreign words are adopted into English today--like French à propos or cliché which, when used in English become English words. Same here I think. Clearly, James knew that Richard would have understood what this word meant or he would have refrained from using it. Leasnam 21:19, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Because Wiktionary is insistent on having citations of precise spellings, this would seem to me to fail RFV. Of course, it should probably stay (in some spelling) as a Middle English word, and the Scots word should stay. - -sche(discuss) 18:58, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
RFV-failed, because there were not three citations in the entry that met en.Wikt's strict standards on spelling, and division of Middle English and Modern English. - -sche(discuss) 02:46, 8 August 2011 (UTC)