An. article. [an, Saxon. een, Dutch, eine, German.] The article indefinite, used before a vowel, or h mute. See A.
- One, but with less emphasis; as, there stands a house.
Since he cannot be always employed in study, reading, and conversation, there will be many an hour, besides what his exercises will take up. Locke.
- Any, or some; as, an elephant might swim in this water.
He was no way at an uncertainty, nor ever in the least at a loss concerning any branch of it. Locke on St. Paul's Epistles.
A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod,
An honest man's the noblest work of God. Pope.
- Sometimes it signifies, like a, some particular state; but this is now disused.
It is certain, that odours do, in a small degree, nourish; especially the odour of wine; and we see men an hungred do love to smell hot bread. Bacon's Natural History.
- An is sometimes, in old authors, a contraction of and if.
He can't flatter, he!
An honest mind and plain, he must speak truth;
An they will take it so; if not, he's plain. Shakesp. K. Lear.
- Sometimes a contraction of and before if.
Well I know
The clerk will ne'er wear hair on's face that had it.
——— He will an' if he live to be a man. Shakesp. Merchant of Venice.
- Sometimes it is a contraction of as if.
My next pretty correspondent, like Shakespeare's lion in Pyramus and Thisbe, roars an' it were any nightingale. Addison. Guardian, № 121.