One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A night spent watching over a dead body, typically acting as a celebration to mark the passing of the person's soul.‘No, no, father, we can't be cutting into that ham. That's for the lyke wake’
- ‘The lyke wake, when friends sat up all night by the coffin, was not being so frequently observed by the middle years of the nineteenth century, but on the morning of the funeral the men gathered for a few drams.’
- ‘Plummer evidently was acquainted with the family, however, and had some idea that the lyke-wake was in order.’
Late Middle English: from lyke (from Old English līc ‘body’: compare with lychgate) and the noun wake.
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