I know this has cropped up before but without any definitive answer. I was always taught the expression was "mein host" and I see that spelling widely used. Others write "mine host". Which is right? Or are both right? And where did the expression "mein host" originate?

Alan Cleaver
I know this has cropped up before but without any definitive answer. I was always taught the expression was "mein ... used. Others write "mine host". Which is right? Or are both right? And where did the expression "mein host" originate?

The erroneous "mein host" may have arisen among people unaware of the antiquity of this expression in England, cf. Keats's verse (approx. 1810) about the Mermaid Tavern " I have heard that on a day
Mine host's signboard flew away.
Nobody knew whither till
An astrologer's old quill . . ."
English "mine host" is nowadays thought affected or old-fashioned, because iit was in use centuries ago.
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
I know this has cropped up before but without any ... are both right? And where did the expression "mein host"originate?

The erroneous "mein host" may have arisen among people unaware of the antiquity of this expression in England, cf. Keats's ... quill . . ." English "mine host" is nowadays thought affected or old-fashioned, because iit was in use centuries ago.

Just to amplify Don's reply, I'd say that people started using "mein" because they knew it was a slightly jocular non-standard expression, but didn't know that earlier English often used "mine" instead of "my" before vowels and h, like "an" for "a". They therefore thought it must be the German word.

Mike.
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I know this has cropped up before but without any ... both right? And where did the expression "mein host" originate?

The erroneous "mein host" may have arisen among people unaware of the antiquity of this expression in England, cf. Keats's ... quill . . ." English "mine host" is nowadays thought affected or old-fashioned, because iit was in use centuries ago.

I assume it was just an example of the usual form of "my" before a vowel - "mine eyes...", "...mine own". I don't know if the aitch was pronounced in "host" - it seems to be the same issue as "an hotel", "an historic..." etc.

Phil C.
The erroneous "mein host" may have arisen among people unaware ... affected or old-fashioned, because iit was in use centuries ago.

I assume it was just an example of the usual form of "my" before a vowel - "mine eyes...", "...mine own". I don't know if the aitch was pronounced in "host" - it seems to be the same issue as "an hotel", "an historic..." etc.

"Mine host" and "mine hostess" occur frequently in Shakespeare. And, supporting the vowel theory, there are other uses there such as "mine own", "mine eyes" (and we know that one from the Battle Hymn, too, don't we?), "mine arms", "mine honour", "mine enemy" and even "mine alder-liefest sovereign".
I only made a cursory search, but I couldn't see examples of "mine" used before consonants other than "h", though there were examples of the inverted usage "brother mine", "pupil mine" and "neighbour mine." Which then leads to the question "How would Shakespeare have pronounced "host"?"

John Dean
Oxford
I assume it was just an example of the usual ... be the same issue as "an hotel", "an historic..." etc.

"Mine host" and "mine hostess" occur frequently in Shakespeare. And, supporting the vowel theory, there are other uses there such ... usage "brother mine", "pupil mine" and "neighbour mine." Which then leads to the question "How would Shakespeare have pronounced "host"?"

Dropped 'H' is common in English rural accents of which Shakespeare spoke a Warwickshire variant so it is quite likely to have been mine 'ost. I guess 'host' is not a French import of the 'hour' or 'honour' or AmE 'herb' variety.

JPG
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"mine alder-liefest sovereign".

That sounds like something Falstaff might have said after he'd been drinking too much with the king. "You're mine alder-liefest sovereign you are. And my best mate."

Phil C.
"mine alder-liefest sovereign".

That sounds like something Falstaff might have said after he'd been drinking too much with the king. "You're mine alder-liefest sovereign you are. And my best mate."

"I luf you. Verily".