Old English edition of Wiktionary

Proper noun


Old English

  1. (linguistics, history) The ancestor language of Modern English, also called Anglo-Saxon, spoken in most of Britain from about 400 to 1100.
    Synonym: Anglo-Saxon
    Hyponyms: Anglian, Kentish, Mercian, Northumbrian, West Saxon
    Coordinate terms: Classical English, Middle English, Modern English, New English
  2. (nonstandard, colloquial, proscribed) Archaic English (Early Modern English) or Middle English speech or writing, or an imitation of this: "old" English.
    • 2008, Stephen J. Harris, Bryon Lee Grigsby, Misconceptions About the Middle Ages, page 177:
      Those who claim that they've been reading Shakespeare in Old English betray their ignorance: they haven't.
  3. (typography, historical) The form of black letter used by 16th-century English printers.
  4. (Ireland, history) A historical ethnic group in Ireland descended from Norman invaders from Britain from the 12th century to the 17th century.



See also


Further reading

  • W. V. Yates (1884) The Civil Service English Grammar: Being Notes on the History and Grammar of the English Language. For the Use of Civil Service Candidates, the Higher Classes in Public Schools, and Students in Traning Colleges, 2nd edition, pages 4 and 7
    • [...] Five great periods, distinguished as,—
      1. The Anglo-Saxon, from A.D. 449 to A.D. 1066.
      2. The Semi-Saxon, from A.D. 1066 to A.D. 1250.
      3. The Old English, from A.D. 1250 to A.D. 1400.
      4. The Middle English, from A.D. 1400 to A.D. 1550.
      5. The Modern English, from A.D. 1550 to the present time.
    • XI. Semi-Saxon.—The term Semi-Saxon is applied to the language while it was going through the transition state from the Anglo-Saxon of the time before the Conquest, to the Old English of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries. [...]
      XII. Transition of Anglo-Saxon into English.—During the Semi-Saxon period the language was gradually converted from Anglo-Saxon into English:–