phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

By times

Posted by RRC on August 27, 2009 at 15:53

In Reply to: By times posted by Victoria S Dennis on August 27, 2009 at 15:08:

: : : There was a question posted in November 2000 about the phrase "by times", and no one had any information. I came across the post by chance, but apparently I can't add to it, so I'll start a new post.

: : : "By times" is a phrase I have used for years, having picked it up from some I knew from Newfoundland. I have also heard it used there as well when I've been visiting. It means "perhaps", or "sometimes". As in "I'll be seein' you by times", or "If you're being by the bay at a dawn tide by times you'll see a whale."

: : : Whether it is uniquely a Newf idiom, or simply one of the many archaic Irish-English forms used there, I do not know.

: : by times "by times"

: : believe the following covers this phrase:

:
: : Dictionary of Prince Edward Island Englishý - Page 28
: : by T. K. Pratt - Reference - 1996 - 224 pages
: : Wj. by times Prepositional phrase. Also spelled and pronounced betimes

: :
: : Glossary of Northamptonshire words and phrasesý - Page 95
: : by Anne Elizabeth Baker - Foreign Language Study - 1854
: : I call by times." 2. Early. " I was up by times this morning."

: : A dictionary of archaic and provincial words, obsolete phrases, proverbs ...ý - Page 875
: : by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps - English language - 1887

: :
: : TIMES. Hours. Times and often, very
: : frequently. By times, early. Times about, in

: : Leicestershire words, phrases, and proverbsý - Page 114
: : by Arthur Benoni Evans, Sebastian Evans - History - 1881 - 303 pages
: : By then, adv. by the time that. ' By then I come back.' By times, adv.
: : occasionally ; sometimes. ...

: : Language dissertationý - Page 182
: : by Linguistic Society of America - Language Arts & Disciplines - 1936
: : In the phrase 'none but she it ... This use occurs chiefly in the phrase by the
: : way. 5. Cause or result. ... By times, ie, from time to time.

: - In the Northamptonshire quote, "I was up by times this morning", "by times" is identical with "betimes", as used by Samuel Pepys, whose diary entries frequently start with "Up betimes and...to my office/to the settling of my last month's accounts/to the Duke of Albemarle". (VSD)

Merriam Webster lists 3 meanings for betimes: early, (archaic) speedily, and occasionally. Since only one is marked as archaic, I guess it's still in use somewhere. ;-)