List (meanings)

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List form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these.

Although Bridges was only concerned with three meanings of list (listen; heel over; 'of flannel'), OED (2019) defines eight nouns, of which three are obsolete, five verbs (two obsolete), andf an obsolete adjective. Some shared meanings can be seen:

  • List (v.1) is an impersonal verb, ~ 'to be pleasing to', used in such constructions as 'as it him listeth' and the Bible's "The winde bloweth where it listeth" ([A.V. John iii. 8).
    • List (n.3)
  • List (v.2) is an archaic equivalent of 'listen', to which it is etymologically connected: the common Germanic root hlus- gave rise to Old Northumbrian lysna and Old English hlystan, along with hlosnian. This verb list is now only used archaically, or for4 the purposes of Metre in verse.
    • The obsolete noun (OED's n.1) meant 'the sense of hearing', especially in such phrasal verbs as 'give list to' and'have list to'. Later, up to the sixteenth century, it was usedas a synonym for 'the ear'.