11 JANUARY 1908, Page 28

The Oxford English Dictionary. Edited by Dr. James A. H.

Murray. " Polygenous—Premious." Vol. VII. (Clarendon Press. 'is. 6d. Treble Section.)—The total number of words in this treble section amounts to 5,'726; they occupy 190 pages of three columns, and the illustrative quotations are 19,114. Two-thirds of the words beginning with "poly," all those that have the prefix "post," and the first half of "pre" come within the volume. Under "post" we find the familiar "postmaster," by which Merton College has been pleased for the last three centuries and more—ever since 1593 at the latest—to designate its scholars. No one knows its meaning. " Portionista " and " post-magister" (standing behind the magister) have been conjectured, but there is nothing like proof. It is a curious example of the obscurity of the subject of words. The word " post " occupies in its first souse of "pillar," &c., three columns, and in its second of " station" and the appliances of conveyance, with its derivatives, four and a half. Then comes " post " as a "place" or office, cognate in its origin and uses, as "a batch of ore, &c.," a legal term, an "entry," and a "bugle call." Few people realise how interesting the

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