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    Wrong entry in LEO?

    to miscarry - SUGGESTION: 'dated' or 'literary' tag on all entries on the English side except the me…

    Wrong entry

    to miscarry dated - SUGGESTION: 'dated' or 'literary' tag on all entries on the English side except the medical definition

    Examples/ definitions with source references

    ​[intransitive, transitive] miscarry (something) to give birth to a baby before it is fully developed and able to live The shock caused her to miscarry.

    ​[intransitive] (formal) (of a plan) to fail

    MISCARRY | Meaning & Definition for UK English |

    2.1 dated (of a letter) fail to reach its intended destination.

    ‘many of my letters home miscarried because the post went through enemy-occupied Europe’

    If a woman miscarries, her baby dies because it is born before it has fully developed:

    to give birth to a baby before it has developed enough to live

    MAINLY LITERARY if a plan or activity miscarries, it fails or goes wrong

    1. to expel a fetus prematurely from the wombabort

    2. to fail all her plans miscarried

    3.  (of freightmail, etc) to fail to reach a destination

    1obsolete to come to harm

    2: to suffer miscarriage of a fetus

    3: to fail to achieve the intended purpose go wrong or amiss: the plan miscarried

    4: to fail to reach the intended destination: the letter has miscarried

    4b. intransitive. Of a pregnant woman or animal: to have a miscarriage; to give birth to a fetus before it is viable. Also with †of, and figurative.


    5a. intransitive. Of a plan, business, etc.: to go wrong; to fail; to come to nothing, prove abortive.

    †Also transitive (in passive): to cause (an enterprise) to fail (obsolete).

    6a. intransitive. Of a letter, etc.: to fail to reach its proper destination; to be delivered to the wrong recipient.

    1929   A. M. Lindbergh Let. 12 Feb. in Hour of Gold (1973) 16  Your telegram miscarried.

    1988   F. Tomlin T. S. Eliot (BNC) 133  Many of my letters home miscarried, because..the post went through enemy-occupied Europe.

    1 to give birth to a baby before it is properly formed and able to live

    2 formal if a plan miscarries, it is not successful

    [no object]

    medical : to have a miscarriage : to experience the early and unexpected end of a pregnancy

    formal : to go wrong : to fail to achieve the intended purpose


    Here's the existing Leo entry for 'to miscarry':

    Dictionary: miscarry

    to miscarry - fehlschlagen

    to miscarry  - missglücken

    to miscarry  - misslingen 

    to miscarry - scheitern 

    to miscarry  - verlorengehen   

    to miscarry - [MED.] eine Fehlgeburt haben

    We've come from here (related discussion: Korrekter Gebrauch von "miscarry").

    This might be a tricky one, because the monolingual dictionaries I've quoted above (Oxford Learners, Lexico, Cambridge, Macmillan, Collins, MW, OED, Longman, Britannica) do not necessarily support what was said by the UK and US native speakers (CM2DD, mike, RES-can, Thirith, hbberlin, wupper, hm--us, me and Bion) in the above thread.

    There are three basic definitions of to miscarry:

    (1) the medical definition,

    (2) of plans, to fail,

    (3) of post, to go astray.

    The native speakers were all agreed that today, the verb to miscarry is almost always used ONLY in its medical definition, that is, to miscarry a baby. We were all agreed that we'd never heard the '(3) post' definition in contemporary English, and most were agreed that the '(2) plan' definition was only literary, formal, or dated.

    The dictionaries aren't as consistent as the Leo contributors, though! Here's a summary of the entries above:

    All nine dictionaries that are quoted above have the (1) medical definition -- and it's the first definition in each case.

    One (Cambridge) only has the medical definition

    Four (Oxford Learners, Macmillan, Longman, Britannica) only have the (1) medical and the (2) failed plan defintion. All four have a 'literary' or 'formal' tag on the plan definition.

    The other four (Lexico, Collins, MW, OED) have all three definitions. Only Lexico has a dated tag on the (3) post definition.

    The English entries for to miscarry should be tagged in some way to avoid the mistake that California almost made in related discussion: Korrekter Gebrauch von "miscarry").

    What suggestions do people have for a suitable tag?

    Author papousek (343122)  30 Aug 22, 13:36
    Context/ examples

    Quotes from related discussion: Korrekter Gebrauch von "miscarry" - #30

    CM2DD It sounds very much like Fehlgeburt. I only realised what you meant when I looked up "miscarry" on Leo, in fact.

    mike AFAIK miscarry / miscarriage is only used for "Fehlgeburt" except

    in "a miscarriage of justice" = "Fehlurteil"

    you probably mean "went / has gone astray" ?

    RES-cam Dictionary here or there .... never heard it used in that sense, in my quite long life! Maybe I'm an oddity. Very possible :)

    I stand to be corrected, dictionaries notwithstanding .....

    Thirith I would definitely not recommend this usage to anyone in 2022. If I read it in a historical novel, that'd be one thing, but if anyone used it I'd assume they're trying to be clever and succeeding at being tasteless instead.

    hbberlin As far as I'm concerned, M-W should also include "dated" when it comes to a letter.

    wupper For the record, I've never heard this sense of "miscarry" used before and I would not have understood the sentence in the OP. At least not readily.

    hm-us Dictionaries here or there, I would reject any sense of 'miscarry' = go wrong, fail, as belonging to the 18th or even 17th century. At most 19th; but really, it sounds Shakespearean.

    In modern (AE?) usage, in my experience, 'miscarry' only means to have a miscarriage = lose an embryo or fetus before birth (= Fehlgeburt).

    papousek Agree with all the native speakers in this thread, have only ever heard to miscarry or miscarriage in the context of pregnancy, or the expression 'a miscarriage of justice'.

    This ought to be tagged in Leo so no-one else makes the mistake California almost made in 2009.

    Bion @papousek I’ll add my voice to that—with one or two minor exceptions, not heard but one reads them in particular in historiographical contexts, the locutions “the plot miscarried,” “the plan miscarried,” and very occasionally, “the letter miscarried”—i.e., formal, literary, in scholarly contexts (or possibly in the spoken language for humorous or maybe rhetorical effect).


    And the quotes from the linked thread.

    #1Authorpapousek (343122) 30 Aug 22, 13:43

    Eight of nine dictionaries at #1 record the "go wrong" meaning. So, it's certainly in use and might just need a tag. The "misroute" sense (LEO: to miscarry  - verlorengehen)  will probably need a different tag.

    #2AuthorRominara (1294573)  30 Aug 22, 16:16

    Yes, agreed -- there will probably be two different tags needed.

    'Dated' for the misroute definition, and perhaps 'formal' or 'literary' for the go wrong definition.

    #3Authorpapousek (343122) 30 Aug 22, 16:56

    Any further thoughts on tags for the various definitions of miscarry?

    #4Authorpapousek (343122) 20 Jan 23, 15:23
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