How is “burial” incorrectly formed?

OED says that: Middle English buryel, biriel, incorrectly formed as a singular of byriels, buriels n., q.v.; in later times associated with nouns in -al from French, such as espousal-s. says that: “act of burying,” late 13c.; earlier “tomb” (c. 1200), false singular from Old English byrgels “tomb,” from byrgan “to bury” + suffix … Read more

Meaning of “the kynge gaf hem leue for fayne wold he haue ben accorded with her”

Here is a fragment of Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory: Thenne alle the barons by one assent prayd the Kynge of accord betwixe the lady Igrayne and hym / the kynge gaf hem leue / for fayne wold he haue ben accorded with her Does accord between the king and lady mean marriage? … Read more

What was Ꝧ (thorn with stroke through descender) used for in middle/old english?

I was doing some research online and I saw that a thorn with a slash through the ascender was a common abbreviation for “that,” but the same website (wikipedia) also listed this character: “Ꝧ”. What was it used for? I tried to find out, but the best I could find was that it simply existed … Read more

Does the word “spicy” predate the Columbian exchange, and if so, in which ways was it used?

Europe did not have any kind of capsicum or chili pepper before the Columbian exchange of the 15th and 16th centuries. These days many people feel that the word “spicy” only describes the kind of “spicy hot” of chilis and not of the heat of black pepper, horseradish, mustard, wasabi, etc. But was the word … Read more

What does the phrase “or euer” mean in Middle English from the 1500s?

What does the phrase "or euer" mean in Middle English from the 1500s? It’s often translated as "before", but I’m trying to find out specifically the cultural connotation of what the word could mean other than just "before". The place that I find this is from the 1535 Coverdale Bible. It is used throughout the … Read more

What is the meaning of “rage,” in this exchange

Merriam-Webster (on line) offers no help with the meaning of “rage” (verb) in this context; “swage” is presumably ‘assuage’ (fade). Youthe speke to his selfe & sayd: With women me lyst both play & rage. Angel: To þi saule it is gret damage. þe fende: Jf þou be holy in þi yong age, Þi sorose … Read more

Was “fong” a Middle English word?

I just watched the movie A Knight’s Tale, and the character Wat repeatedly threatens to “fong” people (as in “I’ll fong you,” clearly meaning some kind of bodily violence.) There are claims around the internet that “fong” is an “actual word from old English” (sic, presumably meaning Middle English) meaning “to kick”. However, I can … Read more