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”).
- (intransitive, archaic or dialectal) To give a call; cry out; appeal.
- (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call upon; cry out to.
- (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call to one's self; invite; summon.
- (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call by the name of; name.
c. 1380s, [Geoffrey Chaucer; William Caxton, editor], The Double Sorow of Troylus to Telle Kyng Pryamus Sone of Troye [...] [Troilus and Criseyde], book V, [Westminster]: Explicit per Caxton, published 1482, OCLC 863541017; republished as William Thynne, editor, The Woorkes of Geffrey Chaucer, Newly Printed, with Diuers Addicions, which were Neuer in Printe before: With the Siege and Destruccion of the Worthy Citee of Thebes, Compiled by Ihon Lidgate, Monke of Berie. As in the Table More Plainly Dooeth Appere, London: Imprinted at London, by Ihon Kyngston, for Ihon Wight, dwellying in Poules Churchyarde, 1561, OCLC 932919585, CLXXXVIII, recto:
- For that that ſome men blamen euer yet / Lo, other maner folke commenden it / And as for me, for al ſuche variaunce / Felicite clepe I my ſuffiſaunce
- 1593, Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, lines 995–996:
- She clepes him king of graues, & graue for kings, / Imperious ſupreme of all mortall things.
- World traveling sorcerer supreme Charles Carter, yclept Carter the Mysterious, has made a startling discovery that makes the news from Europe seem mild indeed.
- (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal, often with 'on') To tell lies about; inform against (someone).
- (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal) To be loquacious; tattle; gossip.
- (transitive, now chiefly dialectal) To report; relate; tell.
clepe (plural clepes)
- (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.