One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adverbpoetic, archaic, rare
To a lower place or position; downward, down; towards the earth. Frequently with verbs of motion, often those signifying descent, as fall, sink, kneel, etc..
prepositionpoetic, archaic, figurative, rare
Figurative and in figurative contexts. During, over the course of, or after (a period of time); throughout (the course of time).
Old English; earliest use found in King Alfred (c848–899), king of the West Saxons and of the Anglo-Saxons. From of + down, with the literal meaning ‘from the hill’.
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