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Tuesday, 25 December 2012


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Your word for today is: present, n.2

present, n.2

[‘Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift; = gift n.1 3.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈprɛznt/,  U.S. /ˈprɛznt/

Forms:    ME presand north.,   ME presande north.,   ME presant,   ME presaunde,   ME presauns plural,   ME presawnte,   ME presend,   ME presens plural,   ME presenz plural,   ME presond,   ME presont,   ME presound,   ME–15 presaunt,   ME–15 presente,   ME– present;   Sc.  pre-17 praisant,   pre-17 presand,   pre-17 presande,   pre-17 presend,   pre-17 presens plural,   pre-17 pressant,   pre-17 17– present,   19– praesent,   19– preesent.   N.E.D.(1908) also records a form  lME presaunte

Etymology: <  Anglo-Norman present, presaunt and Old French, Middle French present (French présent) donation, gift (c1140 in Old French) <  presenter present v. Compare post-classical Latin presentum (1086, c1336, 1350 in British sources), presentia (from late 12th cent. in British sources), Old Occitan prezen (first half of the 12th cent.; Occitan present), Catalan present (13th cent.), Spanish presente (1207 as presend), Italian presente (early 13th cent.).


 a.  Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift; = gift n.1 3.
In quots. c13901,  c13902 with the contextual implication of bribery.

c1230 (1200) Ancrene Riwle (Corpus Cambr.) (1962) 79 Þa earst ha unduden þe presenz þet ha beren.

a1250  in  C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 41 Þre kinges þe hauet igret; ibrout heo habbet a present newe.

c1300 St. Fabian (Laud) 18 in  C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 178 Þe þre kingues to ore louerd presaunt dude bringe.

1340 Ayenbite (1866) 25 Huanne þe ilke..þengþ in his herte..efterward to þe greate presens [c1450 Bk. Vices & Virtues presentz] and to þe greate festes þet me him makeþ oueral..him ioisseþ.

c1390 (1376)  Langland Piers Plowman (Vernon) (1867) A iii. 80 Bote Meede þe Mayden þe Meir heo bi-souȝte, Of alle such sullers seluer to taken, Or presentes withouten pons as peces of seluer.

c1390 (1376)  Langland Piers Plowman (Vernon) (1867) A. iii. 208 Þe pope and his prelates presentes vnderfongen.

a1400 (1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 160 Þe kynges þat him soght þat thre presandes til him broght.

1485 Malory's Morte Darthur (Caxton) i. viii sig. a.vv, The kyng made grete ioye, and sente the kynges and knyghtes grete presentes.

a1500 (1450) Merlin (1899) 108 These barons saugh the grete yeftes and the riche presentz [Fr. les riches presens & les rices ioaus] that the kynge hadde hem yoven.

1585  T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay Nauigations Turkie i. xvii. 19 b, The Ambassadour sent his presents vnto the Bascha.

1621  J. Chamberlain Let. 10 Nov. (1939) II. 406 The Moscovie ambassador..brought divers presents of ermins, sables, blacke foxe, Persian carpetts wrought with gold..besides a faire Persian tent.

1687  A Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 85 The Mules that carried the Presents were..unloaded.

a1701  H. Maundrell Journey Aleppo to Jerusalem (1703) 7 We went to visit the Aga with a small present in our hands.

1752  H. Fielding Amelia IV. xi. viii. 191, I have a Present for you here—No Matter how I came by it.

1781  J. Byng Diary 17 June in Torrington Diaries (1934) I. 30 Tho' I stay'd an hour at this place, it was with difficulty I could force a present upon the civil landlord for my lodging.

1825  J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl. at Close, ‘Do you ay get a present when you gang to see your auntie?’ ‘Aye, close.’

1861  M. Pattison in Westm. Rev. 19 413 Silver and pewter plate,..presents to the Corporation from all parts of the Continent.

1913  W. Cather O Pioneers! v. iii. 300 Alexandra had gone over to Mrs. Hiller's to leave a little present she had bought for her in the city.

1950  F. Rooney in  H. Brickell O. Henry Prize Stories of 1951 (1951) 262 A portable sewing machine he had bought her as a present on her last birthday.

1988  A N. Wilson Tolstoy xiii. 329 Next time he went to Moscow, Tolstoy brought Alexeyev a present, a copy of Tyutchev.

2004 Eve Dec. 83/3 A good way to drop a hint without forcing yourself to say it out loud is to leave a magazine open showing the present you'd like.

 b.  The action or an act of presenting or giving something as a gift; presentation; an instance of this; = gift n.1 1. Chiefly in to make a present (also †to make present): to give as a gift; to make a present of: to present, give, bestow. Also (Sc.) in a present.
In modern use freq. understood as sense 1a.

a1325 St. Benedict (Corpus Cambr.) 127 in  C. D'Evelyn  & A. J. Mill S. Eng. Legendary (1956) 126 Þis messager..ȝeode uorþ wiþ o costret & dude is presant bliue.

1340 Ayenbite (1866) 218 Þet comþ him to bidde wyþ-oute makiynge of presont to god of guode workes.

a1400 Speculum Guy (Royal 17 B.xvii) 1006 Right to my-selue..Þou dost þi presont ilk a dele.

a1450 York Plays 122, I am ovir poure to make presande.

a1522  G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid iii. ix. 44 My fader Anchises..gaif that ȝoung man hys richt hand, And assuris his spreit with that presand.

1569  E. Fenton tr. P. Boaistuau Certaine Secrete Wonders Nature f. 102, So he made a present of the one of them to the Countie of Alphestan.

1645  E. Waller Apol. for having Lov'd ii, To the first that's faire or kind, Make a present of their heart.

1680  J. Crowne Misery Civil-war iii. 29 Take the body up, and carry it after me, I'll make a present of it to his Father.

1717 Househ. Bk. Lady Grizell Baillie (1911) 53 For rubans to give in presents.

1746  R. Forbes Lyon in Mourning (1895) II. 8 She was to give these few shirts in a present to Donald Roy MacDonald.

1774  J. Bryant New Syst. II. 379 Pausanias mentions one, which had been made a present to the Deity at Olympia.

1831  J. Hogg in Blackwood's Mag. Apr. 581/1 See what I hae brought ye in a present.

1842  J. H. Ingraham Edward Austin iii. 19 Wittelsey had made him a present of the flask, and had promised to send him a demijohn of the brandy.

1884  J. T. Trowbridge Farnell's Folly xxvi, Marian had made her a present of a new dress.

1929  R. Masson Use & Abuse Eng. 43 A silver soup divider that I got in a present from Jemima.

a1995 Stopping Crime Starts with You (BNC) 31 It only takes a moment's carelessness to make a present of your valuables to the thief.

†c.  An offering to God or a god; = gift n.1 4. Cf. quots. 1340 at sense 1b,  1774 at sense 1b. Obs.

a1400 Speculum Guy (Royal 17 B.xvii) 1006 Al þat þou dost for þo loue of me to þo leste of my meyne, Right to my-selue..Þou dost þi presont ilk a dele.

?a1425 Orcherd of Syon (Harl. 3432) (1966) 304 Þei schulden..offre to me þe presentis of meke, deuoute preyer.

1535 Bible (Coverdale) Psalms lxxv[i]. 11 Brynge presentes vnto him yt ought to be feared.

1606  G. W. tr. Justinus Hist. xliii. 135 Returning from Delphos (whither they had bene sent to carry presents vnto Apollo).

1683–6  T. Rymer tr. Nicias in  Dryden tr. Plutarch Lives III. 443 He set up a Palm-Tree of Brass for a Present to the God.

1707  I. Watts Hymns & Spiritual Songs iii. 189 Were the whole Realm of Nature mine, That were a Present far too small.

 d.  Brit.a present from ——: used as an inscription on a piece of souvenir pottery, bearing the name of the town in which it is sold; (hence) a piece of pottery so inscribed. Also in later use with reference to other kinds of souvenir.

1853  Dickens Bleak House iv. 28 We found a mug, with ‘A Present from Tunbridge Wells’ on it.

1890  R. Kipling Courting of Dinah Shadd 125 She gave me a drink out of a china mug wi' gold letters—‘A Present from Leeds’.

1921  W. de la Mare Mem. Midget viii. 49 A gay little bumper of milk gilded with the enwreathed letters, ‘A Present from Dover’.

1962  N. Mitford Water Beetle 113 The china cabinet will contain Rose Pompadour Sèvres cheek by jowl with A Present from Bexhill.

2005 People (Nexis) 27 Mar. 8 Rock with the words: ‘A present from Blackpool’ all the way through.

†2.  An offer, a proposal. Obs.

?a1400 (1338)  R. Mannyng Chron. (Petyt 511) ii. 75 Þe Danes..sent to William messengers; Of pes þei mad present.

?a1400 (1338)  R. Mannyng Chron. (Petyt 511) ii. 303 To France þei ȝede þo fals, to Philip..þei mad him hir þer present: Scotlond of him to hold.


 C1.  Objective and instrumental.

present-giver n.

1871 Edwardsville (Illinois) Intelligencer 14 Dec. 1/1 The appointment of relatives and present-givers to office was neither law nor custom with Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln.

1901 Daily Chron. 20 Aug. 5/1 The procrastinations of a present-giver indefinitely prolong and augment his sufferings.

1989 Guardian (Nexis) 22 Dec., What kind of present-giver are you? And how should you regard relatives bearing gifts? We've classified 12 types of present-giver.

 present-giving n.

1827 N. Amer. Rev. Oct. 335 Three thousand Indians had been recently at Drummond's Island, in order to receive presents... We are utterly at a loss for reasons to account for this perseverance, on the part of the British Indian Department, in the present-giving system.

1895 Daily News 22 Oct. 6/5 It is an occasion of present-giving ad lib.; the confirmee receiving gifts from all her relatives and friends.

1993  J. Wilson Suitcase Kid (BNC) 96, I heard her ask the gran and grandad if they could include me in the present-giving so that I wouldn't feel left out.

 present-laden adj.

1894 Atlanta (Georgia) Constit. 11 Feb. 24/2 Closely following on the heels of the present-laden messenger, as he returns to his master, is the mistress' servant, bearing gifts in return for those received.

1954 Times 29 Dec. 1 New bicycles having their first airing, present-laden families at bus stops, and from the flag-staff of the tall stone Tower of the old Church..flies the bold cross of St. George of England on Christmas morning.

2004 Dominion (Wellington, N.Z.) Post (Nexis) 4 Dec. 4 Santa's present-laden sleigh.

n. (also present-silvir) Obs. money given to the bringer of a gift (cf. presentation silver n. (a) at presentation n. Compounds 2); money disbursed for the provision of gifts; (in quot. 1325-7 perh.) a payment made in lieu of a gift in kind.

1325–7  in  F. M. Stenton  & N. Neilson Types Manorial Struct. Northern Danelaw (1910) 108 Et de vij li. xiiij s. viij d. de diversis consuetudinibus videlicet presentsilver, gryuespound, iuncandi, triturandi.

1511  in  J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1902) IV. 310 To the maister cuik for present silvir of rewardis debursat be hyme.

1512  in  J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1902) IV. 356 For present silvir of ane martrik, gavin be my Lord of Murray to the king.

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