- ever (adv.)
- Old English æfre "ever, at any time, always;" of uncertain origin, no cognates in any other Germanic language; perhaps a contraction of a in feore, literally "ever in life" (the expression a to fore is common in Old English writings).
First element is almost certainly related to Old English a "always, ever," from Proto-Germanic *aiwo, from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity" (see eon). Liberman suggests second element is comparative adjectival suffix -re. Sometimes contracted to e'er in dialect and poetry. Ever so "to whatever extent" is recorded by 1680s. Expression did you ever? (implying "see/do/hear of such a thing") attested by 1840.