Middle English Dictionary Entry

a- pref.(2), in adverbs
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

From early ME a prep., derived from unstressed an before nouns, adjs., and advs. beginning with a consonant [OE on, an]. (a) Orig. noun phrases: a-beggeþ, a-bedde, a-blode, a-clokke, a-dai(es, a-fir(e, a-fisheþ, a-fote, a-game, a-kne(s, a-lond(e, a-live(s, a-loft(e, a-side, a-slepe, a-wei, and many others; (b) orig. adj. & adv. phrases: a-brod(e, a-fer, a-high, a-loue, a-lǒud(e, a-mid(de, a-nigh, a-right, a-twin(ne, a-two, etc.
From early ME a prep., derived from of: a-fer from afar; a-neue (partly from on phrase); a-slepe (2); and probably some other instances.
From OF a prep.: a-bandoun, a-belef, a-cas, a-cost, a-fin(e, a-gref, a-part(ie, a-pas, a-travers.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Changed beginning of ETYM ("From the unstressed variant a of the ME prepositions on & of,") to above, per slip--JL