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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 65

survives in sound American. To jew, in English, means to cheat; the colonists made it mean to haggle, and devised to jew down to indicate an effort to work a reduction in price. To heft, in English, means to lift up; the early Americans made it mean to weigh by lifting, and kept the idea of weighing in its derivatives, e. g., hefty. Finally, there is the familiar American misuse of Miss or Mis’ (pro miz) for Mrs. It was so widespread by 1790 that on November 17 of that year Webster solemnly denounced it in the American Mercury.

5. Archaic English Words
  Most of the colonists who lived along the American seaboard in 1750 were the descendants of immigrants who had come in fully a century before; after the first settlements there had been much less fresh immigration than many latter-day writers have assumed. According to Prescott F. Hall, “the population of New England … at the date of the Revolutionary War … was produced out of an immigration of about 20,000 persons who arrived before 1640,” 40 and we have Franklin’s authority for the statement that the total population of the colonies in 1751, then about 1,000,000, had been produced from an original immigration of less than 80,000. 41 Even at that early day, indeed, the colonists had begun to feel that they were distinctly separated, in culture and customs, from the mother-country 42 and there were signs of the rise of a new native aristocracy, entirely distinct from the older aristocracy