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From Middle English welkne, wolkne (clouds, heavens), from Old English wolcnu (clouds), plural of wolcen (cloud), from Proto-Germanic *wulkaną, *wulkō, *wulkô (cloud). Cognate to German Wolke.



welkin (plural welkins)

  1. (archaic, poetic) The sky, the upper air; aether; the heavens.
    • c1388, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales,
      This day in mirth and revel to dispend
      Till on the welkin shone the starres bright
    • 1739, Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, Bristol, Hymns for Christmas Day:
      Hark! How all the welkin rings!
    • 1924, Herman Melville, Billy Budd, London: Constable & Co., Chapter 11, [1]
      To him, the spirit lodged within Billy, and looking out from his welkin eyes as from windows, that ineffability it was which made the dimple in his dyed cheek, suppled his joints, and dancing in his yellow curls made him preeminently the Handsome Sailor.
    • 1951, Bosley Crowther, “Great Caruso Makes Its Debut”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[2], The New York Times:
      Miss Kirsten and Miss Thebom are ladies who can rock the welkin, too, and their contributions to the concert maintain it at a musical high.


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Derived termsEdit


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Further readingEdit

  • [3] Welkin, Michael Quinion