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See also: Gramarye




From Old French gramarie, a variant of grammaire; see grammar. The word was revived by Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832).



gramarye (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) Grammar; learning.
  2. (archaic) Mystical learning; the occult, magic, sorcery.
    • 1765, Thomas Percy, compiler, “King Estmere”, in Reliques of Ancient English Poetry: [], volume I, London: Printed for J[ames] Dodsley [], OCLC 519493226, lines 143–146, page 64:
      My mother was a weſterne woman / And learned in gramaryè, / And when I learned at the ſchole, / Something ſhee taught itt me.
    • 1805, Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel: A Poem, 2nd edition, London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster-Row, and A. Constable and Co., Edinburgh, by James Ballantyne, Edinburgh, OCLC 670135565, canto III, stanza XI, page 81:
      And, but that stronger spells were spread, / And the door might not be opened, / He had laid him on her very bed. / Whate'er he did of gramarye [footnote: Magic.], / Was always done maliciously. / He flung the warrior on the ground, / And the blood welled freshly from the wound.
    • 1814, “The Book of Heroes. Book Second. Of Hughdietrich, and His Son Wolfdietrich.”, in [Henry William Weber, Robert Jamieson, and Walter Scott], editors, Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, [], Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London; and John Ballantyne and Co., Edinburgh, OCLC 960875005, adventure IX, page 80:
      She took a spell of grammary, and threw it on the knight: / Still he stood, and moved not: (I tell the tale aright:) / She took from him his falchion, unlac'd his hauberk bright. / Mournfully Wolfdietrich cried, "Gone is all my might. []"
    • 1836, Henry F[othergill] Chorley, chapter II, in Memorials of Mrs. Hemans: With Illustrations of Her Literary Character from Her Private Correspondence. [...] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: Saunders and Otley, Conduit Street, OCLC 990813898, pages 58–59:
      Had I possessed any power of ‘gramarye,’ you would certainly have found yourself all of a sudden transported through the air.
    • 1836, Lord Teignmouth [i.e., Charles John Shore Teignmouth], “St. Andrew’s, Cathedral, Castle, Churches, University, Education, Clergy, Harbour, Bell-Rock Light-house, Fifeshire”, in Sketches of the Coasts and Islands of Scotland, and of the Isle of Man; [] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: John W[illiam] Parker, West Strand, OCLC 964734256, page 131:
      Whilst a tale of gramary, or love, will draw thousands to Melrose or Loch Katrine, few are willing to read the history of Popish ascendency, or Protestant reformation, amidst the ruins of St. Andrew's.
    • 1885, Richard F[rancis] Burton, transl., “Tale of the Trader and the Jinni. [The First Shaykh’s Story.]”, in The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: [], volume I, [s.l.]: Privately printed by the Burton Club, OCLC 31195259, page 28:
      But the daughter of my uncle (this gazelle) had learned gramarye and egromancy and clerkly craft from her childhood; so she bewitched that son of mine to a calf, and my handmaid (his mother) to a heifer, and made them over to the herdsman's care.
    • 1973, Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising, London: Chatto & Windus, OCLC 614578300; republished London: Vintage Books, 2013, →ISBN, pages 151–152:
      Long ago, when magic was the only written knowledge, our business was called simply Knowing. But there is far too much to know in your day, on all subjects under the sun. So we use a half-forgotten word, as we Old Ones ourselves are half-forgotten. We call it "gramarye".
    • The Magic Cottage by James Herbert (1986). The cottage owned by the protagonists Midge & Mike is called "gramarye".

Alternative formsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


Further readingEdit

  • T. B. W. Reid (1949), “Grammar, Grimoire, Glamour, Gomerel”, in Fraser Mackenzie, R. C. Knight, and J. M. Milner, editors, Studies in French Language Literature and and History: Presented to R. L. Græme Ritchie, Cambridge: At the University Press, →OCLC; 1st paperback edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, →ISBN, page 181.


Middle EnglishEdit


gramarye (uncountable)

  1. Alternative form of gramery.