frēond-lēas, adj: friendless. (FRAY-ond-LAY-ahs)
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Goldgifa Avren Keating says, “I’ve heard there’s no word for ‘lonely’ in Old English and Middle English, is this true? I figure something like nabban-cynne could work?”
I’d never thought about this before, but I think that’s true of Old English. There are words like ān-floga (lone flier) and ān-stapa (lone wanderer), but I can’t think of an adjective that specifically means “lonely” or “loneliness”. I like the idea of nabban-cynne (or perhaps næbbende-cynne would be more grammatical?). I think the closest word that actually exists in extant Old English literature is frēond-lēas, friendless. Cynn-lēas would mean kin-less, but it doesn’t appear in extant literature so there’s no proof it was used.
Any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Avren, for the interesting question!