frēond-lēas, adj: friendless. (FRAY-ond-LAY-ahs)

It’s Goldgifa Week, which means some of the words are chosen by Wordhord patrons. Find out more on Patreon.

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!


sinc-gifu, f.n: a gift of treasure, costly gift. [SINK-YI-voo]

And…a bonus word chosen by Matthew P. for Goldgifa Week!

hwæt, adj: quick, active, vigorous, stout, bold, brave. Also adv & interj: why, what! ah!, how, indeed. [HWAT]

One of my favourite words! This was a word-of-the-day back in November 2013 when the Old English Wordhord was only a couple weeks old.

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