My wife is a history professor whose area of specialization is the nineteenth century United States. Given the requirements of college history courses, however, she also teaches in time periods well before her own period of study. While this doesn’t usually present a problem, as she is well-read in all areas of American history, there are times when primary source documents throw up terms that she hasn’t encountered before. In such cases, i’m not much help to her either, because my focus is on the twentieth century.
Anyway, she was reading some documents from the Salem witch trials on the late seventeenth century, and came across this paragraph:
It’s the words “thought meet” that have her stumped. Some online seaching turned up another example from a 1625 proclamation in England.
I know there are plenty of historically-inclined Dopers out there. Anyone come across this term before? We’ve made some guesses, but none seem especially satisfying.
Meet as an adjective is obsolescent, showing up only in a few fossil phrases like “help meet” and “It is meet and right so to do.” Essentially it means “proper. appropriate, particularly fitted to a situation.” Cite.
Render the phrase you ask about as something like “We thought it proper and appropriate to signify…”
Back in high school, a friend and I had each encountered this word while rooting through old books. When we’d haggle over stuff like weed, we’d seal the bargain with “this is just and meet.” (“proper”)