You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Middle English’ tag.

A rope used for raising and lowering a sail, yard, or flag on a ship. Middle English “halyher” < Old French “haler”=to draw or pull < Old Frankish “halon.”


A state of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. Middle English “aduercetee” < Anglo-Norman “averset√©” = a turn in fortune < Latin “advertere”=to turn towards < “ad-“=toward + “vertere”=to turn.

Extremely hungry; starving. Middle English “famyssh”=to starve < Old French “afamer” < Latin “affamare”=to deprive of food < “fames”=hunger.

To formally engage someone to be married. Middle English “betroath” < “be-” verb-forming prefix with the sense of “being/becoming” + “treuthe”=truth.

A person who is believed to be able to see the future. Middle English “sothseyere”=one who tells the truth < Old English “soth” + “secga”=one who speaks.

A small piece of shiny metal or plastic sewn onto clothes to give them a shining effect; a sequin. Middle Dutch “spange”=buckle, clasp, ornament + Middle English “-le”=diminutive suffix.

The official residence of a diplomatic minister in a foreign country or a diplomatic envoy. Middle English “legacyoun” < Middle French “legacion” < Latin “legatio”=the sending of a deputation < “legare”=to bequeth.

A business that has the right to sell another company’s goods or services in a particular area. Middle English “frangise”=immunity or privilege < “franc”=free < Latin “francus”=free.

To prevent or obstruct an event or activity by taking some sort of advance action. Middle English “forestall” meaning “to intercept goods before they go to market” < Old English “foresteall” < “fore”=in front + “steall”=standing place.

A short stiff hair that feels rough. Middle English “brustel”=stiff hairs on a wild board, often used to make brushes < Old English “byrst” < Old Germanic “*bors-“=pointed, edge.

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