A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Alphabetical List of Entries

~ E ~

E, Has two sounds; long, as scêne, and short, as men. E is the most frequent vowel in the English language; for it not only is used like the rest in the beginning or end of words, but has the peculiar quality of lengthening the foregoing vowel, as căn, cāne; măn, māne; găp, gāpe; glăd, glāde; brĕd, brēde; chĭn, chīne; whĭp, wīpe; thĭn, thīne; nŏd, nōde; tŭn, tūne; plŭm, plūme. Yet it sometimes occurs final, where yet the foregoing vowel is not lengthened; as gŏne, knowlĕdge, gĭve. Anciently almost every word ended with e; as for can, canne; for year, yeare; for great, greate; for need, neede; for flock, flocke. It is probable that this e final had at first a soft sound, like the female e of the French; and that afterwards it was in poetry either mute or vocal, as the verse required, 'till at last it became universally silent.

Ea has the sound of e long: the e is commonly lengthened rather by the immediate addition of a than by the apposition of e to the end of the word; as mĕn, mēan; fĕll, fēal; mĕt, mēat; nĕt, nēat.