Definition of Middle English in English:

Middle English


  • [mass noun] The English language from c.1150 to c.1470.

    • ‘These languages include German, Dutch, Mainland Scandinavians, Icelandic, Yiddish, Old and Early Middle English, and Old French.’
    • ‘There are also extensive references in Hopkins's writings to Old and Middle English, in particular to Chaucer.’
    • ‘It's pretty obvious that everything about Middle English got messed up, particularly after the Normans conquered England, thereby bringing the language to the lower classes.’
    • ‘The court was a focus of literary and theatrical activity, and between 1270 and 1380 it fostered the growth of vernacular languages - Middle English and Middle Dutch, for example - as acceptable media of upper-class discourse and culture.’
    • ‘The English language of the day was Middle English not usable as such.’
    • ‘A term derived in Middle English from the Old French word seculer (itself from the Latin saecularis), the word originally referred to clergy who were not bound by the religious rules of a monastic order.’
    • ‘In Middle English, dinner was used for the first big meal of the day, which was eaten sometime between 9 a.m. and noon, so it had the meaning of ‘breakfast’ or ‘lunch.’’
    • ‘Tolkien was a professor of Middle English and a language boffin.’
    • ‘The national language is Icelandic, a northern Germanic language with some resemblance to Middle English.’
    • ‘His artistry was mediated through his academic training as an expert in ancient languages - including Middle English and Icelandic - and the tales of antiquity.’
    • ‘Thanks to my 10th grade English teacher, I can recite the prologue to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in Middle English.’
    • ‘All known medieval translations are accessible: four Latin, three Italian, and three Middle English.’
    • ‘This range can make for tough going, as do swatches of untranslated Latin and Middle English and other assumed knowledge.’
    • ‘And also, the part names are in Old and Middle English.’
    • ‘Just read the first page or two and noted that it's much easier to read Old English (or Middle English, not sure which it is) once you know a bit of Dutch.’
    • ‘In my dictionary of etymology, I discovered that ‘worry’, ‘choke’ and ‘strangle’ were one and the same word in Old and Middle English.’
    • ‘Modern English comes from the East Midland dialect of Middle English.’
    • ‘Modern English is essentially Middle English with slurred vowels (and additional grammatical structure added on to it to ensure that any meaning lost in the slurring of the vowels is added back on somewhere else).’
    • ‘Thus it was that in c.1250 the tale of King Horn, of which there is a late twelfth-century Anglo-Norman version, appeared now in Middle English, the first of many romances in this new vernacular.’
    • ‘This word comes into the Middle English language from the Late Latin word Paganus, which means country dweller.’


Middle English