meddle and make

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Alternative forms[edit]


meddle and make (third-person singular simple present meddles and makes, present participle meddling and making, simple past and past participle meddled and made)

  1. (obsolete, chiefly in the negative) To intrude oneself into another person's concerns. [16th to 19th c.]
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iii]:
      [] for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why the more is for your honesty.
    • 1681, Robert Knox, An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, London: Richard Chiswell, Part III, Chapter 7, p. 91,[1]
      For it is accounted a disgrace for the man to meddle or make with those affairs, that properly do belong unto the Woman.
    • 1756, anonymous, Emily; or, The History of a Natural Daughter, London: F. Noble & J. Noble, Volume I, Book III, p. 205,[2]
      Hold your foolish Tongue, Mr. Metal, said she, and get you to-bed; have’nt I plague enough with this audacious Slut, do you think, without your meddling and making?
    • 1840, Ellen Pickering, The Quiet Husband, London: T.&.W. Boone, Volume I, Chapter 5, p. 162,[3]
      She is the most unquiet person I know; cannot be still—meddles and makes about every thing and every body.
    • 1880, William Dean Howells, The Undiscovered Country, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter 27, p. 399,[4]
      “Nay, I must not meddle or make in this business,” said the Shaker.
      “You did meddle and make in it once,” retorted Ford, unresentfully but inflexibly []

Usage notes[edit]

The phrase meddle and make is generally restricted to positive, declarative contexts while meddle or make (and meddle nor make) are used in negative or non-declarative contexts. The difference is illustrated in the 1880 citation (Howells) above.