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When did mass

6 replies

AskingQuestionsAllTheTime · 01/03/2022 13:17

become amass? In the verb usage meaning get together in a big group, not the noun Catholic mass or a mass of information.

I am thinking of reports that the Russian troops are amassing on the border of Ukraine. I am reasonably certain that this never used to be said: troops massed in places before. But now they amass instead.

Clouds used to mass on the horizon; do they now amass?

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JustGotToKeepOnKeepingOn · 01/03/2022 13:27

It's two completely different words. A quick Google will give you lots of examples.

AskingQuestionsAllTheTime · 01/03/2022 15:29

It's not that I think amass doesn't exist; it does. And I agree: it is a completely different word from mass.

I had not previously met it being used to mean "these people got themselves together in a large group", only to mean "these people got a large amount of something together" ; one for assemble and the other for accumulate. So you would amass evidence, but have a mass gathering. There are probably technical words for this but I don't know them.

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BoredBoredBoredB · 03/03/2022 17:23

Hmm. I think mass as a verb has always been rare. Clouds gathered on the horizon.
I think what you mean is that amass should always be transitive
Eg amass evidence

And mass intransitive
Eg troops massed on the border
You are probably right. I’m off to check.

AskingQuestionsAllTheTime · 03/03/2022 17:31

That seems possible. If so, thank you!

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BoredBoredBoredB · 03/03/2022 17:31

Yes. Examples of ‘amass’ in the Shorter Oxford are transitive and ‘mass’ intransitive and mostly referring to troops.

AskingQuestionsAllTheTime · 03/03/2022 17:34

That does seem to settle it for me. Thanks again.

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