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A bivious path in Syston, Leicestershire, England, UK

From Latin bivius (two-way, having two approaches) (from bi- (having two parts) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dwóh₁ (two)) + via (road; way) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *weyh₁- (to chase, pursue)) + -us (suffix forming adjectives) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *-ós (suffix forming agent nouns from verb stems))) +‎ -ous.[1]



bivious (comparative more bivious, superlative most bivious)

  1. (rare) Having, or leading, two ways.
    • 1647, Theodore de la Guard [pseudonym; Nathaniel Ward], The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America. [], London: Printed by J[ohn] D[ever] & R[obert] I[bbitson] for Stephen Bowtell, [], OCLC 560031272; The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America (Force’s Collection of Historical Tracts; vol. III, no. 8), 5th edition, reprinted at Boston in N. England: For Daniel Henchman, []; [Washington, D.C.: W. Q. Force], 1713 (1844 printing), OCLC 800593321, page 28:
      If Publick Assemblies of Divines cannot agree upon a right way, private Conventicles of illiterate men, will soon find a wrong. Bivious demurs breed devious resolutions. Passengers to Heaven are in haste, and will walk one way or another.
    • 1647, G[eorge] T[ooke], “[Annæ-Dictata, or, A Miscelaine of Some Different Cansonets, []] Funerall Teares”, in The Belides [], London: [s.n.], OCLC 504272642, page 112:
      Even ſtrange to tell, / I now ſo clung an Individium was, / So fix at home, and yet ſo bivious / At the ſame time, and far abroad; []
    • 1649, Fra[ncis] Quarles, The Virgin Widow: A Comedie, London: Printed for R[ichard] Royston, [], OCLC 946074010, pages 41–43; quoted in George Villiers, Edward Arber, editor, The Rehearsal. [] (English Reprints; 10), London: Alex. Murray & Son, [], 2 November 1868, OCLC 313196891, Act III, scene i, page 88:
      Pulchrellas breaſt encloſes / A ſoft Affection wrapt in Beds of Roſes. / But in the rare Pantheas noble lines, / Truth Worth and Honour, with Affection joynes. / I ſtand even-balanc'd, doubtfully oppreſt, / Beneathe the burthen of a bivious breaſt.
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, “Part the Third”, in Christian Morals, Cambridge: Printed at the University-Press, for Cornelius Crownfield; and are to be sold by Mr. Knapton; and Mr. [John] Morphew, OCLC 220054853; reprinted in Simon Wilkin, editor, Sir Thomas Browne’s Work including His Life and Correspondence, volume IV, London: William Pickering; Norwich, Norfolk: Josiah Fletcher, 1835, OCLC 759604716, section III, page 94:
      In bivious theorems, and Janus-faced doctrines, let Virtuous considerations state the determination. Look upon opinions as thou dost upon the moon, and choose not the dark hemisphere for thy contemplation.
    • 1718, [John Aubrey], “Reygate Hundred. Reygate, or Rhie-gate.”, in The Natural History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, volume IV, London: Printed for E[dmund] Curll, OCLC 745245424, page 189:
      The Caſtle of this Place was built in the Saxon Times, []: In the Area of it is an Entrance into a large Cave, or Vault, that runs under Ground ſeveral Perches, to a ſmall Portal or Door that opens into the Graſſe without the Caſtle. This Vault is bivious, and cut out of the Sand, ſeveral Paces broad, and 5 Yard high, at the End which opens into the Graſſe, or dry Ditch.
    • 2016, Jan Assmann, “Inscriptional Violence and the Art of Cursing: A Study of Performative Writing”, in Ernst van den Hemel and Asja Szafraniec, editors, Words: Religious Language Matters (The Future of the Religious Past), New York, N.Y.: Fordham University Press, →ISBN, part I (What are Words?), page 58:
      [] Deuteronomy places the reader in a dilemma, a "bivious" position. He must choose between two ways that the text opens before him: "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (30:19). A treaty is a text that structures reality in a bivious form.

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  1. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editor (1884–1928) , “Bivious, a.”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volume I (A–B), London: Clarendon Press, OCLC 15566697, page 887, column 3.

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