October 31, 2012
quoth (verb)
\KWOHTH\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: said
How do you use it?
"‘Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.'"
Are you a word wiz?

If you're not too spooked, please tell us which author you think is the source of the ghastly quotation we've used as our example sentence.

Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem "The Raven" features an ominous black bird that visits the narrator and haunts him with memories of a lost love, though speaking only the word "nevermore." Poe's use of "quoth" to indicate the bird's utterances might well be the most well-known use of the word in literature, but it was not the earliest use. "Quoth" is a surviving remnant of the Old English verb "cwethan," meaning "to say," and traces all the way back to the 1200s. It still retains some of its Old English characteristics, too: it always comes before the subject, just as in Old English, and it is only used in the first and third persons.
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