Middle English Dictionary Entry

lẹ̄che n.(3)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) A physician or surgeon; hors ~, q.v.; (b) bodili (flesh, lichames) ~, a physician or surgeon for the body (as opposed to a spiritual doctor); leches drenche, a medicinal potion; (c) fig. one who saves another, helper, protector, preserver; one who remedies evils; ironical: killer [quot.: 1380]; ~ of helle, the Devil; (d) one who heals the soul or mind; God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, one of the saints, a priest, a teacher; soule(s ~; godes (soulene) ~, ~ spiritual, a priest, confessor; gostli ~, God; hevenlich ~, God, Christ, a saint; lechene ~, the physician of physicians, supreme physician, Christ; soverain ~, Christ.
2.
(a) Medicine; -- usually fig.; soule(ne ~, medicine for soul(s; (b) doinge to ~, to give (man or beast) medical treatment [cp. lechecraft 2. (a)]; (c) healing, recovery, rescue, escape; -- used fig.
3.
The ring finger; ?also, the fourth toe.
4.
(a) In cpds.: ~ finger [OE lǣce-finger], ~ man, the ring finger; ~ hous [OE lǣce-hūs, lēce-], a hospital or an infirmary; ~ wort [OE lǣce-wyrt], a medicinal plant; ~ craft, ~ dom, q.v.; (b) as surname & in place names [see Smith PNElem. 2.10].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1450(1410) Walton Boeth.(Lin-C 103)p.74 : Aʒeyn þi sorwes obstynat…it is a maner lesse.
  • Note: New spelling leche n.(3) 2.(a) was this form taken?

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. leech 1.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 4.(a)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. leech finger.