Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
Green check.svg

The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.


Archaic adjective: "clean". It seems like archaic past participle corresponding to "washed". Is it a true adjective in modern English, or Middle English, for than matter. DCDuring TALK 20:10, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Keep, I think. To me a sentence like "I have a washen heart as well as washen hands"link would be awkward if "washen" were a participle there; compare "I have a clean[ed] heart as well as clean[ed] hands", which only works with adjective "clean", not participle "cleaned". (By the way, that same book regularly uses the form "washed" as the participle, even in figurative use. In both sentences where "washen" appears — not a large sample, I admit — it's as a prenominal modifier. That's not definitive, but I find it highly suggestive.) —RuakhTALK 21:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
As to awkwardness, I think that the "clean/cleaned" case seems awkward only because of the availability of the adjective. Could you explain the point of your "clean[ed] X and clean[ed] Y" example? In any case, we are mostly interested in avoiding needless redundancy where there is not much indication of semantically or syntactically distinct behavior of the term. DCDuring TALK 21:31, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't seem redundant to me to list a participial adjective separately, if it's best analyzed as an adjective. —RuakhTALK 22:41, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Then could you explain how the example supports your point? DCDuring TALK 22:55, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Because, as I said, I think the example would be awkward if "washen" were a participle there. I think the most natural reading is as an adjective. (Additionally, the same book only uses "washen" as an adjective, preferring "washed" whenever a participle is needed; but the sample size is too small to draw a firm conclusion about that.) —RuakhTALK 23:20, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how the name of a PoS or grammatical function assigned to a word by linguists or grammarians makes any difference whatsoever to its being "natural". If "washen" met some tests of adjectivity, .... BTW, Websters 1913, the only original OneLook reference to have "washen" defines it solely as an obsolete past participle of "wash". DCDuring TALK 23:48, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, 'washed' doesn't mean 'clean' anyway. --Mglovesfun (talk) 10:00, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Comment. It often happens that archaic past participles remain in their adjectival function long after they've lost their verbal function. Some examples from modern English are shaven and molten, both of which are now only adjectives, not past participles. So I can well imagine that at some point, washen was still in use as an adjective, while its verbal function had already been replaced by washed. And I can well imagine that that point happened during Early Modern English, which is a stage to be labeled ==English== and marked "obsolete" or "archaic". Washen might still be a past participle in Middle English, though, but that would be a different heading in the entry. —Angr 20:05, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
That seems like a good summary of the underlying hypothesis behind the Adjective PoS. I wonder why Webster 1913 didn't treat it as an adjective. Does the OED's treatment help on this classification question? DCDuring TALK 20:14, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Not much, no. The OED gives it as an arch.[aic] and dial.[ect] adjective, with the etymology "str.[ong] past participle of wash v.[erb]", but I don't see any explicit indications of why they consider it an adjective. My own assumption would be that their reasons are similar to mine above, which already failed to convince you. :-P   —RuakhTALK 20:35, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
MW 1913 and those who follow it don't have "clean" as a sense. The OED does, I take it. DCDuring TALK 21:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't think so. Its subsenses are (a) “Washed. Also with adv.[erb] prefixed, as clean-washen, ill-washen, new-washen, well-washen.” and (b) “washen leather n.[oun] Obs.[olete] = wash-leather n.[oun]”. It has a bunch of senses for the adjective washed, but none of them is exactly “clean”. —RuakhTALK 13:50, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Keep as an adjective; I analyse the "washen hands" book the same way as Ruakh. - -sche (discuss) 23:53, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

kept -- Liliana 13:17, 11 October 2011 (UTC)