līðend, m.n: a traveller, sailor. [LEE-thend]

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A siren pulls a sailor from a boat by the hair, while another sailor stops his ears to avoid hearing the siren’s song, with a centaur holding a bow below. Hugh of Fouilloy’s Aviarum/Bestiary. N. France, 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 13th century. British Library, Sloane 278, f. 47r. [bl.uk]

hwæles ēðel

hwæles ēðel (kenning): whale’s home, i.e. the sea. (“HWÆL-ess AY-thell”)

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Yunus (Jonah) and the whale, from Rashid al-Din’s Jami al-tawarikh (The Collection of Histories). Iran (Tabriz), c. 1314. University of Edinburgh Special Collections, MS 20, f. 23v. [collections.ed.ac.uk]

For more on medieval whales, check out my other blog, Dēor-hord, the medieval and modern bestiary!


Sutton Hoo is doing an Old English ‘Word Hoard’ event alongside their display on Anglo-Saxon travel and trade. It’s free on every Tuesday and Thursday until 10 September. Find out more on their website. Although I’m not involved in this event, I’m doing a ‘travel and trade’ theme this week. The first of these words is…

ȳþ-lida, m.n: a wave-traverser, a ship. (“UTH-LEE-dah”)