Will's word

3rd February 2006 at 00:00
(verb) reprove; exhort

This word has contained the notion of "warning" since it arrived in English (from Latin via French) in the 14th century; but its chief modern meaning, to "warn against error or fault", is an 18th-century development.

It is important to forget this sense of reproof when listening to Pucelle asking for supernatural help: "Now help I ye choice spirits that admonish me" (Henry VI Part 1, V.iii.3). Why should she be asking spirits for help if they routinely tell her off? Of course the word does not have this nuance: it just means "forewarn, inform". And it means simply "warn" when Henry talks of the French acting as their consciences "admonishing That we should dress us fairly for our end" (Henry V, IV.i.9). The same point applies to the noun admonishment. In Henry VI Part I (II.v.98), Mortimer tells Richard to be careful, and he replies: "Thy grave admonishments prevail with me". Similarly, Andromache asks Hector: "When was my lord so much ungently tempered, To stop his ears against admonishment?" (Troilus and Cressida, V.iii.2). Here, too, the word means only "warning".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now