Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English clepen, clepien, from Old English cleopian, clipian (to speak, cry out, call, summon, invoke, cry to, implore), from Proto-Germanic *klipōną (to ring, sound), from Proto-Indo-European *gal- (to sound). Cognate with Old Frisian klippa, kleppa (to ring), Dutch kleppen (to toll, chatter), Middle Low German kleppen (to strike, sound), Middle Low German kleperen (to rattle).


  • IPA(key): /kliːp/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːp


clepe (third-person singular simple present clepes, present participle cleping, simple past cleped or clept, past participle cleped or clept or yclept)

  1. (intransitive, archaic or dialectal) To give a call; cry out; appeal.
  2. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call upon; cry out to.
  3. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call to oneself; invite; summon.
  4. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call by the name of; name.
    • 1593, [William Shakespeare], Venvs and Adonis, London: [] Richard Field, [], OCLC 837166078; Shakespeare’s Venvs & Adonis: [], 4th edition, London: J[oseph] M[alaby] Dent and Co. [], 1896, OCLC 19803734, line 995–996:
      She clepes him king of graues, & graue for kings, / Imperious ſupreme of all mortall things.
    • 1937, Rex Stout, chapter 8, in The Red Box:
      Boyden McNair, with his right elbow on his knee and his bent head resting on the hand which covered his eyes, sat near Wolfe's desk in the dunce's chair, yclept that by me on the day that District Attorney Anderson of Westchester sat in it while Wolfe made a dunce of him.
  5. (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal, often with 'on') To tell lies about; inform against (someone).
  6. (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal) To be loquacious; tattle; gossip.
  7. (transitive, now chiefly dialectal) To report; relate; tell.

Usage notesEdit

The verb is obsolete, except in certain dialects or when used in the past participle yclept which is sometimes used as a deliberate archaism, or as an idiomatic set phrase: aptly yclept.


Derived termsEdit


clepe (plural clepes)

  1. (now chiefly dialectal) A cry; an appeal; a call.
    • a. 1547, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, transl., “Virgil’s Æneid”, in Geo. Fred. Nott, editor, The Works of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey and of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, volume I, London: T. Bensley, published 1815, book II, lines 1021–1024, page 124:
      So bold was I to show my voice that night / With clepes, and cries, to fill the street throughout / With Creuse’ name in sorrow, with vain tears ; / And often-sithes the same for to repeat.





  1. second-person singular present active imperative of clepō

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of clepen



From French crêpe. Doublet of crespo.


clepe m (plural clepes)

  1. (Louisiana) crepe



From Middle English clepen, from Old English clipian, from Proto-Germanic *klipōną (to ring, sound).


clepe (past participle y-clepèd or ee-clepèd)

  1. to call, to name


  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith