Old EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Proto-Germanic *swefnaz (sleep, dream), from Proto-Indo-European *swépnos. Cognate with Old Saxon sweƀan, Old Norse svefn. The Indo-European root also led to Ancient Greek ὕπνος (húpnos), Latin somnus, Old Irish suan, Old Church Slavonic сънъ (sŭnŭ), Russian сон (son), Lithuanian sãpnas.



swefn n

  1. dream
    Iċ nǣfre ne ġeman mīn swefnu.
    I never remember my dreams.

Usage notesEdit

"To have a dream" was expressed with the verb mǣtan (to dream), not habban (to have): Ġiestranniht mē mǣtte swefn þæt iċ wǣre fram wulfe forswolgen ("Last night I had [lit. dreamed] a dream that I was devoured by a wolf").


Derived termsEdit


  • Middle English: swevene, sweven

See alsoEdit