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Postby svetlana_banana » Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:37 pm

The word "till" actually predates the word "until" - the prefix "un" was added later. Sometime in the 18th century, the usage "'till" (note the apostrophe) became common, later to be replaced by "'til". The former is now considered nonstandard, but the latter has become accepted although it is etymologically incorrect.

Huh. But in the 18th century, was till actually used to mean until, or did it refer only to digging up earth? Cuz unless it was used to mean until, I'd have to think that 'til would be the only proper abbreviation.
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Postby btrapp » Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:41 pm

Go to like Prof did and see for yourself ;)
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:03 pm

svetlana_banana wrote:
Huh. But in the 18th century, was till actually used to mean until, or did it refer only to digging up earth?

Nope, it meant until. The word till predates the word until by many centuries at least (it's the usage 'till that originates in the 18th century, not the word until, which is from at least as early as the 13th century.)
My Dicitionary of Word Origins explains further:
Till originates from a prehistoric German *tilam 'aim, purpose' (also the source of the German word ziel 'goal'). This passed into Old English as till 'fixed point,' which seems to have been converted into a preposition meaning 'up to a particular point (originally in space, but soon also in time).' The compound until dates from much later; its first element being a common prefix.
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