fit (archaic meaning)

ManOfWords

Senior Member
Português [Brasil]
fit
(fɪt)
n
(Music, other) archaic a story or song or a section of a story or song

Could I ''have said'' for example: That church hymn (song) has a sad fit. (meaning it has a sad story in it) :confused::confused:
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Possibly, a hundred and fifty years ago, or more. The most recent example of its use cited in the OED is from 1864.

    I don't recommend committing it to memory, or using it now.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is more likely that you would have said it in Old English or Middle English. The OED has it as obsolete (except archaic). None of the examples qualify fit qualitatively. I suspect that, to be idiomatic, you would have had to say "The hymn's second fit/fytte is sad."
     
    Note that your sentence 'has a sad fit in it' is not quite right. M-W unabridged has this meaning:

    archaic : a division of a poem or song : a canto or a similar division

    The sentence would have to be, "The hymn's third fit is a sad one."


    Just now, I see this : Note Paul has made a similar point, above.
     

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    Sem título.png
    Your source also says:

    fit 3
    (fĭt)
    n. Archaic
    A section of a poem or ballad.
    ===
    "fits and starts" is an idiom and its first word has nothing to do with the example in the OP.

    ===

    What exactly are we arguing about?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    That church hymn (song) has a sad fit. (meaning it has a sad story in it)
    That is because here in fits and starts it says a story or song or a section (of a story or song) :oops::confused:
    I am not sure that you are aware what a hymn is - it is a song of praise to the Christian god, and as such, not a story.
    fit also meant the whole story of a song ... isn't it?
    None of the examples of the use of "fit/fytte" in the OED give a clear indication that "story" is part of the definition, and they support the idea that "fit/fytte" means a part of a song/poem.

    As the word is obsolete it is difficult to know how it was used, and it is impossible to know how it would be used were it current.

    You must understand that finding an obsolete word, taking its definition and using that definition in current Modern English is liable to be a facile and pointless exercise.
     
    Last edited:

    ManOfWords

    Senior Member
    Português [Brasil]
    I am not saying I'd use it, I like to learn and understand how words from the past were used. :cool:
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Fit" has a well-known twentieth-century use, almost certainly deriving from a well-known nineteenth-century use. I think both are intended to suggest something, not archaic, quite, but outside the common time.
    • Lewis Carroll used the term to break his poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876) into sections.
    • Douglas Adams used "fit" for each 30-minute episode of his radio drama The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978)
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    "Fit" has a well-known twentieth-century use, almost certainly deriving from a well-known nineteenth-century use. I think both are intended to suggest something, not archaic, quite, but outside the common time.
    • Lewis Carroll used the term to break his poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876) into sections.
    • Douglas Adams used "fit" for each 30-minute episode of his radio drama The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978)
    These are precisely the only two examples of this usage of which I am aware and of which most readers might have had a chance of encountering. To which we should add, both these examples appear in the context of humorous or satirical writings, where "fit" is likely used in large part because it already sounds odd and archaic!
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    • Lewis Carroll used the term to break his poem The Hunting of the Snark (1876) into sections.
    • Douglas Adams used "fit" for each 30-minute episode of his radio drama The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978)
    These are precisely the only two examples of this usage of which I am aware and of which most readers might have had a chance of encountering.
    You're familiar with twice as many examples as I am, then -- I only knew the first one (An Agony in Eight Fits).
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I noted
    (i) the way the word is used in quotation marks
    Over a period of six months, the rest of poem was composed, ending up as 141 stanzas in 8 sections that Carroll called “fits.”"
    indicating that the writer was unfamiliar with the terms or knew their readers would be
    and
    (ii) they are entitled "Fit the First"; "Fit the Second", etc., which is an equally obsolete construction.


    You can't help but agree with
    both these examples appear in the context of humorous or satirical writings, where "fit" is likely used in large part because it already sounds odd and archaic!
    Parallels between Lewis Carroll and Douglas Adams are not hard to find: mischievous geniuses who shared a brilliantly funny and eccentric view of the world.
     
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