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Q&A

How did 'in' + 'as' + 'much' (⟶ inasmuch) compound to mean "in an equal or like degree"?

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I quote the OED 's etymology for the adverb inasmuch.

originally 3 words in as much (in northern Middle English in als mikel), subsequently sometimes written as 2 words, in asmuch, and now (especially since 17th cent.) as one.

I. In phrase inasmuch AS. [=] In so far as, [...], in proportion as,

[...]

†3. in as much (Notice the absence of as)
= [4.] In an equal or like degree, likewise.

  1. What exactly does each Functional Morpheme (in, as, much) mean here? Please specify which definition from each Functional Morpheme's OED webpage applies.

  2. How did these 3 Functional Morphemes compound to mean definition 4 above? I'm befuddled, because 3 contains no word that means degree in definition 4. So whence did the semantic notion of degree stem?

  3. To wit, what semantic notions underlie in, as, much with 'in an equal or like degree'?

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3 comment threads

x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/HistoricalLinguistics/comments/tjvpq3/what_do_in_as_much_mean_in_inas... (1 comment)
x-post https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/12841/how-to-parse-in-as-much-and-similar-synt... (1 comment)
x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/asklinguistics/comments/t8a2vf/how_did_in_as_much_compound_to_mean_in... (1 comment)

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