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a- Cp OED ~ prep1 13 a and b, 'with verb of motion.' A- and verb forms with -ing appear in historical texts ('to come a Tilting,' treated at TILT v), ballad and verse idioms, and the oral vernacular.
   1689 English Pilot 16 It is not a Mile broad there, as I was informed by the Planters...who usually go a Furring there in the Winter. 1797 PANL GN 2/1/a vol 12, 8 June A few small Bankers are on the Banks a fishing. 1862 Atlantic Mo ix, 366 'I 'ould n like to go a-swilun for gain.' 1901 Christmas Review 5 "The Outport Planter": 'The winter seed him mend his nets, the summer seed him go a-fishin'.' T 1-63 Well, my son, you talk about girls goin' a-screechin'! 1965 PEACOCK i, 94 "The Sealer's Ball": 'Be ye much of a hand ab'ard a vessel/A-peltin' the puppy swiles, sir.' T 266-66 And we always bees be frightened. You wouldn't catch us to go out a-singin'.

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