doubleness (uncountable)

  1. The state of being double or doubled.
    • 1540, Great Bible, Books of Chronicles 12 [verse 33],
      And of Zabulon that went out to the battayle and proceded forth to the war, with all maner of instrumentes of war fyftie M. that were prepared to the war, without any doublenesse of herte.
    • circa 1604 William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act III, Scene 1,
      If you think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Boston: Ticknor and Fields, “Solitude,” p. 146,
      I only know myself as a human entity; the scene, so to speak, of thoughts and affections; and am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it;
    • 1983, Cynthia Ozick, The Cannibal Galaxy, New York: Knopf, p. 17,
      It was easy for him, when he saw the straight march of his school, the old section taller and wider and brighter than the new wing, and the new wing following in its narrow dark doubleness, to think of boxcars.
  2. Behaviour intended to deceive people.
    Synonyms: double-dealing, duplicity, insincerity
    • circa 1390s Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale, lines 746-750,
      Al to symple is my tonge to pronounce,
      As ministre of my wit, the doublenesse
      Of this chanoun, roote of alle cursednesse!
      He semed freendly to hem that knewe hym noght,
      But he was feendly bothe in werk and thoght.
    • 1577, Raphael Holinshed et al., Holinshed's Chronicles, London: John Hunne, Volume 1, Chapter 14, p. 39,
      But if it be a vice to coulour craftinesse, subtile practises, doublenesse and hollow behauiour, with a cloke of pollicie, amitie and wisedome, then are Comineus and his companie to be reputed vicious.
    • 1860, George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, Edinburgh: William Blackwood, Book 6, Chapter 9, p. 141,
      It is clear to you, I hope, that Stephen was not a hypocrite,—capable of deliberate doubleness for a selfish end;
    • 1963, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, New York: Bantam, 1972, Chapter 8, p. 79,
      I plummeted down [the ski hill] past the zigzaggers, the students, the experts, through year after year of doubleness and smiles and compromise, into my own past.

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