Middle English Dictionary Entry
|Forms||an- pref.(3) Also on-, un-, and-.|
|Etymology||OE an-, on-, unstressed prefix in verbs and verbals (from earlier *and-). In ME, this unstressed an- becomes a- before consonants, but survives unaltered before vowels and h. Thus it falls together either with the prefix a- (from OE ā-) or with AF an- (corresp. to CF en-), with which it is largely synonymous. The late formations listed in (c) below are coined on the inherited model, but are prob. prompted in part by words from AF, such as an-ointen, an-amelen; the variant en- in these English formations points to that. The meaning of this prefix is very vague; e.g., an-elen is synonymous with elen anoint, an-hongen with a-hon.|
Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)
(a) In words inherited from OE: an-biden, an-elen kindle; (b) in words not attested in OE with this prefix, but occurring in early ME up to c1225: an-belȝen, an-bursten; also an-ēlen kindle, an-hongen hang (sb.), which are current throughout the ME period; (c) in words not attested before c1300 (most of which are still current in the 15th cent.), all of them with stems beginning with a vowel or with h: an-angred, an-arwen, an-elen anoint, an-eling, an-enden, an-heien, an-heten, an-hitten, an-hungred, an-ugged.
Supplemental Materials (draft)
Note: Deleted an-hebben from (a) per slip--JL