A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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S

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1736

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1736

S, Has in English the same hissing sound as in other languages, and unhappily prevails in so many of our words that it produces in the ear of a foreigner a continued sibilation.

In the beginning of words it has invariably its natural and genuine sound: in the middle it is sometimes uttered with a stronger appulse of the tongue to the palate, like z; as rose, roseate, rosy, osier, nosel, resident, busy, business. It sometimes keeps its natural sound; as loose, designation; for which I know not whether any rules can be given.

In the end of monosyllables it is sometimes s, as in this; and sometimes z, as in as, has; and generally where es stands in verbs for eth, as gives. It seems to be established as a rule, that no noun singular should end with s single: therefore in words written with diphthongs, and naturally long, an e is nevertheless added at the end, as goose, house; and where the syllable is short the s is doubled, and was once sse, as ass, anciently asse; wilderness, anciently wildernesse; distress, anciently distresse.

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "S." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 25, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2631.


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