While it is undoubtedly true that historical data do not lend themselves well to the reproduction of experimental findings, the availability of increasingly extensive data sets has brought some experimenting within practical reach. This means that certain predictions based on a combination of synchronic observations and uniformitarian thinking are now testable. Synchronic evidence shows a negative correlation between analysability in morphologically complex words and various measures of frequency. It is therefore expected that when the frequency of morphologically complex items changes, their analysability will change along with this. If analysability decreases, this should in turn be reflected in decreasing sensitivity to priming by items with analogous composition. The latter prediction is in principle testable on diachronic data, offering a way of verifying the diachronic effect of frequency change on analysability. In this spirit, the present article examines the relation between changing frequency and priming sensitivity, as a proxy to analysability. This is done for a sample of 250 English ly-adverbs, such as roughly, blindly, publicly, etc. over the period 1950–2005, using data from the Hansard Corpus. Some of the expected relations between frequency and analysability can be shown to hold, albeit with great variation across lexical items. At the same time, much of the variation in our measure of analysability cannot be accounted for by frequency or frequency change alone.