Middle English Dictionary Entry

dẹ̄re adj.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) Of God, of persons: excellent, noble, honored, valiant; ~ of degre, high in rank; often in direct address; ~ God, ~ ladi, ~ lord, ~ sire; (b) as noun: noble one(s, valiant man, etc.
(a) Of things, places: excellent, fine, valuable, precious, prized; (b) of abstractions, etc.: excellent, noble, worthy; ~ heste, ~ laue, ~ love, ~ merci, ~ name, ~ wille, etc.; of baptism: effectual; of death: honored as martyrdom, celebrated; of life, words: important, precious.
(a) Of things: costly, expensive, high-priced; of workmanship: costly; also fig.; (b) at the derrest, to the highest bidder; ~ forward, a costly agreement, a hard bargain; ~ pris, a high price; (c) ~ sesoun, ~ time, a period of scarcity or high prices; ~ somer, a summer of scarcity; ~ yer(es, year (s) of famine or scarcity; ~ yer, a scarcity, dearth [quot. Lydg.BC]; (d) in proverbs and proverbial expressions.
(a) Of persons: beloved, dear (to sb.); (b) ~ herte, dear heart, sweetheart; lef and ~, dear and beloved; (c) as noun: dear one; (d) as noun in direct address; mi ~.
(a) Pleasing, pleasurable; expressing joy, joyous, festive; ~ dai, festive day, holiday; ~ holidai, a high festival; ~ time, holiday season; (b) of bodily organs: ?pleasurable, giving (sb.) pleasure; ?beloved, prized (by sb.), precious; (c) ben loth or ~, to be hateful or pleasing (to sb.); me were derre, I would rather; thinken ~, seem pleasing (to sb.), seem fitting or desirable; -- with dat. obj.
In phr.: haven ~, holden (for) ~, to hold (sb. or sth.) in high esteem, have great respect for; to love (sb.), prize (sth.).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1225(?c1200) St.Juliana (Bod 34)17/1861 : Ȝef ȝe doð me to deað hit bið deore to godd.
  • Note: Antedates sense 5.(a).--per MJW
  • c1440(a1401) Life Bridlington in NM 71 (Yale 331)p.142 : He lerned…To spende his tyme in Goddis seruice When o dir slepe ful oft he woke, prayand to God ful besily.
  • Note: New spelling: dir. (Change dire in form section to dir(e.)--per MLL
    Note: Belongs to sense 5.(a).--per MLL