all-to definition

  • adverb:
    • In such phrases as “all to rent,” “all to break,” “all-to frozen,” etc., which are of frequent occurrence in our old authors, the all and the to have commonly been regarded as forming a compound adverb, equivalent in meaning to entirely, completely, altogether. But the sense of entireness lies wholly in the word all (as it does in “all forlorn,” and similar expressions), and the to properly belongs to the following word, being a kind of intensive prefix (orig. meaning asunder and answering to the LG. ter-, HG. zer-). It is frequently to be met with in old books, used without the all. Thus Wyclif says, “The vail of the temple was to rent:” and of Judas, “He was hanged and to-burst the middle:” i. e., burst in two, or asunder.

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