Print

Print


Sally Caves wrote:

> >> Yet another English *usage* thread, but I found this
> >> curious:
> >>
> >> Mr. Wolfowitz's career has hewed to those same
> >> unshrinking precepts, and in nominating him for the
> >> presidency . . .
(snip)
> >> But "hewed to"? Anybody else seen the development of
> >> "hew" along the lines of "cleave"?
> >>
Oddly enough, it sounds vaguely OK....???? though I don't think I've ever
encountered it. Maybe the writer had a vague memory of "cleave" but couldn't
come up with the word. ========================================

> From: "Bryan Parry" <[log in to unmask]>
>
> > To be honest with you,  I have never heard "cleave"
> > used to mean anything other than to pierce/split etc.
> > Altho' I checked the dictionary, and it appears that
> > you are not mistaken. All I can say is that must be an
> > obscure usage of the word cleave, because I have never
> > before come across it.
>
> You've never heard "he cleaves to the opinion that..."? or "The chiton
> cleaves to the rock tenaciously?"  It's only ever used with the
> preposition
> for this meaning.
>
Well, I'd recognize those if I saw them in print, but I do feel it's a very
archaic usage. If someone actually said it, you could, as the saying goes,
knock me over with a feather. My only contact with the word is in the old
Marriage ceremony (old Book of Common Prayer), where "a man shall leave his
parents and cleave to his wife..." which may be lifted from the Bible.

> Joe wrote:
>
> > It's an unusual form, too.  Wouldn't it be more normal to say 'hewn'?
>
> About as normal as it would be to say "he's cloven to the opinion that..."
> :)
True; that seems to have become strictly the adjectival form and only means
'split', as in "cloven hooves" also archaic to me, with religious/Biblical
overtones-- a feature of pigs and other non-Kosher animals (IIRC) and....
Satan.

Hmm, there's also "cleft".