I not only enjoyed this 1915 quote from Basil Gildersleeve (courtesy of Laudator Temporis Acti) for its own sake, I learned a flamboyant and possibly useful word from it:

To come back to my Tauchnitz Aischylos. Like all men of my time, I own a number of these old Tauchnitz editions; and some of them are a joy to me, notably the Aristophanes, by reason of their faulty texts, showing as they do the advance of textual criticism just as the old Variorum editions give evidence of the progress achieved in exegesis. Both may be made to serve as adminicles to the work of the Greek Seminary. The veriest novice can be taught by these old Tauchnitz editions to restore the readings of the best MSS., to correct the false spellings, the bad forms, the abnormal syntax—an encouraging exercise in the art of handling texts.

OED (entry updated December 2011):

Etymology: < Middle French adminicle, Middle French, French adminicule means to an end (1466; compare Anglo-Norman adminicle auxiliary right (a1315 in an apparently isolated attestation)), help, support (1555), (in law) piece of corroborative evidence (1586), attribute of Juno, as depicted on medals (1721 or earlier) and its etymon classical Latin adminiculum (also adminiclum, rare) prop, stake, support, person or thing on which one relies, in post-classical Latin also corroborative evidence (frequently from 13th cent. in British sources) < ad- ad- prefix + an element of uncertain origin (see note) + -culum -culum suffix; compare -cle suffix, -cule suffix. Compare later adminiculum n.
The second element of classical Latin adminiculum may be related to classical Latin minae threats (see minacious adj.) or to classical Latin moenia walls (see munite v.).

1. Something which provides help or assistance, esp. in a subordinate or supporting capacity; an aid, an accessory; an adjunct. Frequently with to. Now rare.
1551 S. Gardiner Explic. Catholique Fayth 14 The auctor would haue the be adminicles (as it were).
1597 Bp. J. King Lect. Ionas xxxv. 469 They adioine fasting and that effectual praier of theirs.
1691 A. Brown Vindicatory Schedule ix. 136 The benefit that in most chronick Diseases comes by long riding seems to be no small adminicle.
1788 T. Reid Aristotle’s Logic iv. §2. 74 The invention contained in these verses great an adminicle to the dexterous management of syllogisms.
1847 G. Grote Hist. Greece III. ii. x. 99 The senate of five hundred..was a permanent adjunct and adminicle of the public assembly.
1900 Amer. Jrnl. Philol. 21 234 To Dr. Osgood Classical Mythology is an adminicle to the study of Milton, and not a study in itself.
1996 J. D. Smele Civil War in Siberia iii. 295 The final declaration..went yet further; an adminicle to the Kadets’ commitment to active Russification of minority regions, it read: [etc.].

2. A piece of supporting or corroborative evidence; something which, without forming complete proof in itself, helps to prove a point; (esp. in Scots Law) a document tending to prove the existence and tenor of a lost deed, which if it existed would have been full evidence.
1592 Acts Parl. Scotl. (1814) III. 569/2 That the tryall..sall nocht be ressauit without verie greit adminicles.
1600 in W. Fraser Mem. Earls of Haddington (1889) II. 208 The..breifs fund vpon him, and vther adminicles.
1706 Phillips’s New World of Words (new ed.) Adminicle..In Civil-Law, it signifies imperfect Proof.
1818 W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian xi, in Tales of my Landlord 2nd Ser. II. 250 Only as adminicles of testimony, tending to corroborate what is considered as legal and proper evidence.
1870 Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc. 11 490 I will give what in the Scotch Law are called..adminicles of evidence,..that tend to establish Mr. Foster’s age, apart from his family records.
1910 Jrnl. Soc. Compar. Legislation 10 258 I can perhaps supply one adminicle of corroborative evidence of its genuineness.
2000 P. R. Ferguson in M. Childs & L. Ellison Feminist Perspectives on Evid. viii. 164 An adminicle of evidence need not be unequivocally in support of the prosecution case to amount to corroboration.

3. In plural. Ornaments placed around the figure of Juno as conventionally represented on a medal, coin, etc. Cf. attribute n. 3. Obsolete. rare.
1728 E. Chambers Cycl. at Adminicle Among Antiquaries, the term Adminicules is applied to the Attributes, or Ornaments wherewith Juno is represented on Medals.

See this post for Gildersleeve’s ex pediculo.


  1. David Marjanović says

    1592 Acts Parl. Scotl. (1814) III. 569/2 That the tryall..sall nocht be ressauit without verie greit adminicles.

    If that’s not miscopied, it means shall has the same bizarre s/sh variation on the island as on the continent.

  2. Sall is standard Scots.

    [Sal is the reg. form in O.Sc. and in North. Mid.Eng. from the 13th c. The reduction of sh- ( < O.E. sceal) to s- is gen. attributed to the lack of stress which the word tends to suffer in colloq. speech.]

  3. Quod God to the Helandman, “Quhair wilt thou now?”
    “I sall down to the Lawland, Lord, and thair steill a kow.”

  4. David Marjanović says

    attributed to the lack of stress

    That’s interesting, because I finally looked it up, and the s- forms show up in OHG in the 9th century (alongside the sc- forms which start, like OHG writing in general, in the 8th), which strikes me as far too early for any [ ʃ ]. Also, /s~z/ forms and /ʃ/ forms occurred side by side in MHG and in MLG.

  5. the term Adminicules is applied to the Attributes, or Ornaments wherewith Juno is represented on Medals.

    Sceptre, patera, and peacock? (And throne and cuckoo and palla?)

    (As seen here.)

  6. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    FWIW, North Germanic keeps /sk-/ before back vowels as any self-respecting language family should. skola/skall/skulle/skolat. What’s up with you lot down south?

  7. David Marjanović says

    In High German we exaggerated the aspiration till it broke, and then the Franks somehow repeated that for sk which you’d expect to be unaspirated (and indeed there are OHG spellings with sg, e.g. an occurrence of OHG calling itself frencisg). In Dutch, which doesn’t aspirate at all because it’s in the aspiration-free belt of Germanic, sch remains at the intermediate stage, [s̠x ~ s̠χ].

    Why that also happened in English is beyond me.

  8. John Cowan says

    Why that also happened in English is beyond me.

    Vowel breaking: shall, short, show, shoot, shuttle < sceall, sceort, sceawan, sceotan, scyttel respectively. Quite likely what is not accounted for thereby is a matter of analogy, though I don’t know any examples.

  9. David Marjanović says

    *lightbulb moment*

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