One of my illustrations in a recent post,
The wind has blown without cease for three days.
struck some readers as odd.
This from Brad K.
I would have used “ceasing” for the wind, an action verb that conveys more of a sense of continuing over time.
If I’d been writing a descriptive passage, I might have gone with ceasing and not cease. As it was, I was simply reaching for a sentence and the idiom without cease is what sprang to mind.
According to the OED, cease used as a noun is “obsolete,” except
in the still occasional without cease, without end, incessantly. (Cf. F. sans cesse.)
Dictionary.com gives this for cease as a noun:
n. Cessation; pause: We worked without cease to get the project finished on time.
CESSATION — usually used with without I kept an eye upon her without cease — R.L.Stevenson>
I’ll have to concede that the expression without cease is a little old-fashioned, but then my diction tends to be so.
Here are some fairly current examples of the idiom that I found with a little web browsing:
Poverty”, the Pope said, “is a plague against which humanity must fight without cease…” (2005)
￼Most of the early civilisations had similar stories: images from China three millennia ago tell of a land under the wheeling stars, beyond endless untravelled wastes, where gales blew without cease, and furry creatures, half animal and half human devoured one another. p. xix of the Foreword to –The Arctic:Environment, People, Policy (2000) Ed. by Terry V. Callaghan
Book title: Without Cease The Earth Faintly Trembles
By Amanda Marchand (2003)