Middle English Dictionary Entry

lēten v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) To grant (sb. land, rights, privileges); fig. allow (sb. time), grant (sb. a reprieve); grant (a place or room to hatred); (b) to bequeath (property), leave (property to sb. at one's death); fig. bequeath (sorrow, care, an example of virtue); (c) to give or give up (sth. to sb.), give (sth.) away; fig. give (sb. a law, sickness), let (sb.) have (knowledge, his will), surrender (one's own will to sb.); ~ on, bestow (love) on (sb.).
2.
(a) To rent (land, a building, etc., to sb. for a period of time), let (property); grant (a bishopric, abbacy, etc.) to the highest bidder; farm out (an office, one's benefice); also, sell (a wardship, the right to marry, etc.) for money; ~ bi yer, ~ to honde; (b) ~ to (in) ferme, to ferme ~, ~ to hire, ~ out = (a).
3.
(a) To give up (sth. material), surrender (property, a city, one's goods); relinquish (an abbacy, etc.); give up (wine, fine clothes, etc.); (b) to give up (sth. intangible); relinquish (happiness, love, virtue, folly, sin, anger, an opinion, one's will or purpose, etc.); cease to have (hunger and thirst); ~ of; (c) ~ lif, to lose (one's) life; lay down (one's) life; die; (d) to abate (an asking price).
4.
(a) To leave (a place, path, etc.), depart from; (b) to pass by (a place); (c) to go away; also, die; of a corpse:?disintegrate [cp. aleten]; fig. of sin, anger, sorrow: depart, abate.
5a.
(a) To leave (sb. or sth. in or at a place), depart from, leave behind; fig. of the fire of love: leave (sb.); ~ bihinden; (b) to leave (sb. or sth. in a state or condition); -- the state or condition may be expressed by an adjective or a phrase.
5b.
In phrases: ~ one, ~ al one: (a) to leave (sb.) by himself; also, desert or forsake (sb. or sth.); (b) not to molest or interfere with (sb.); refrain from attacking (sb.); (c) to give (sb.) a free hand, let (sb. or sth.) take care of matters; (d) to let (sth.) pass, pay no attention to; lete we hit one, let it pass, no matter.
5c.
With to: (a) to leave (the remains of a meal) for (the poor); (b) to leave (punishment) for (souls after death); (c) to hand over (sb. or sth.) to (sb.), relinquish to; (d) to leave (a matter) to the judgment of (sb.); leave (a task) to be performed by (sb.).
6.
(a) To forsake (sb.), desert; neglect (sb.); forsake or put away (one's wife); fig. of youth: desert (sb.); of sin, i.e., the capacity for sin: leave (sb.); -- also used with an animal as obj.; (b) to abandon (laws, teachings, a custom or practice); (c) to reject (sb. or sth.); ~ bihinden.
7a.
(a) To make (sb. do sth.), cause (sb. or sth. to do, suffer, or be sth.); -- with inf. phr. containing a subject, with or without object; (b) to cause (sth. to be done); -- with inf. phr. containing an object but no subject; ~ bringen, ~ crien, ~ maken, ~ nimen, ~ slen, etc.; (c) to cause (sth. to be done); -- with inf. or inf. phr. containing no subject or object; (d) to cause (sth. to be made or known); -- with p.ppl. instead of inf.
7b.
With adv. or prep. phr.: (a) ~ awei, to cause (sth.) to go away; put away (mourning), do away with (strife, injustice), give up (one's will), avoid (the lighted path); ?profane (the sacramental bread); (b) ~ forth, to send or drive (sth.) forth; ~ fro, cast (sth.) from (oneself); ~ her, cause (sb.) to be (here); ~ in, set (sth.) in, insert (sth. into a wall); put (sb.) in (the earth), ?cause (sb.) to be born into (the world); ~ of, put (sth.) out of (one's thoughts); take (one's hand) off (sb.); (c) ~ out, to draw (a weapon), bring out; remove (a corn or growth in the eye); spread out (nets, sails); ~ right, put or set (sth.) to rights, arrange (sth.) properly; ~ thurgh, strain (sth.) through (a cloth); ~ up, raise (a gate).
8.
(a) To allow (sb. to do, have, or be sth.), permit; (b) to permit (a thing or an animal to do or have sth.); ben leten continued, be allowed to continue; (c) to allow (sth. to be done or to happen), permit (sth. to be done to sb. or to oneself); ?allow oneself (to sleep) [quot.: c1400]; ?allow someone (to believe) [quot.: c1450]; (d) to permit (sb.); -- with or without that clause expressing what is permitted; also, permit it, allow me [1st quot.]; (e) law ~ to baile, to admit (sb.) to bail.
9a.
(a) To allow (sb.) to go or pass; allow (sb.) to escape; release (sb.); (b) to slacken (the rein); spare (someone's life); (c) to shed (tears); (d) to utter (words, etc.), make (a noise); shout, roar; (e) to let (a fart).
9b.
With adv. or prep. phr.: (a) ~ awei, to allow (sb.) to depart; (b) ~ doun (adoun), to let (sb. or sth.) go down; lower (sb. or sth., sails, floodgates, a drawbridge, a hanged man, etc.); (c) ~ fro(m, to permit (sb. or sth.) to go away from (oneself); (d) ~ in, to allow (sb.) to come or go in, permit (sb. or sth.) to enter; let (a stream) come through; let (the eye) look in; also fig.; [see also inleten v.]; (e) ~ in and out, to allow (persons) to enter and exit from a place; (f) ~ nither, to allow (one's hands) to drop; (g) ~ out, to allow (sb. or sth.) to go out; let (sb.) depart from a place; let (wind) out of the body; let (sb.) out (of servitude); allow (words, anger) to come out, utter, express; let (sth.) slip out (of one's mind or thoughts), forget (sth.); fig. spend (money); let out, let us out; (h) ~ to, to turn loose (a horse) to (pasture); turn (a lion) loose upon (sb.); (i) ~ up, to let (sb.) climb up on one's back.
9c.
Surg. ~ blod: (a) to remove blood from (sb.), let (sb.) blood; bleed (a vein, part of the body); let blood, perform a bloodletting; -- also refl.; also fig.; ~ out, let (blood) come out; (b) fig. to wound or kill (sb.), slash open (a vein); drain the juice from (a pasty); (c) of a person: to lose blood, be let blood; -- usually fig.; (d) of blood: to flow, gush forth; (e) ~ of, to let blood from (a vein).
10a.
In hortative and optative expressions [sometimes difficult to distinguish from senses 7 and 8]: (a) may (sth. happen or not happen), may (sb. or sth. do or be sth.); may (right prevail, God do His will, the day be joined, etc.); may (sth. be acceptable); let this pin be, this pin should be; etc.; (b) may (sb.) cause or permit (sb. or sth. to do, be, or have sth.); -- used with Christian or non-Christian deities as subjects; (c) let (sb. do, have, or be sth.), may (sb. do, etc.); let him ben war, let him beware, may he be on his guard; let me never, may I never (do sth.); let no man trusten, may no man trust; etc.; (d) lete we, let us (do sth., cause sth. to be done, permit sth.), may we (do, etc.); (e) lete us, let us (do or be sth.), may we (do or be sth.).
10b.
In suppositions: let us suppose (sth.), suppose that, if; let bringen a man, let us suppose that a man were brought; let him sen, suppose that he sees, if he sees; let a dronken daffe fallen, if a drunken fool should fall.
11.
(a) To cease (doing sth.); -- with inf. or ger.; (b) to cease doing (sth.); cease paying (tribute), stop swearing (oaths), cease to practice (alchemy), etc.; ~ fight, bataille (werre) ~, cease fighting; thoughtes ~, stop thinking (such) thoughts; (c) to cease to speak or write of (sb. or sth.); break off (a tale); (d) to stop, cease, desist; ~ of, desist from (sth.); (e) to leave off telling a story; stop speaking, shut up; ~ of, ~ bihinden, stop speaking or writing about (sb. or sth.).
12.
(a) To refrain from (doing sth.), forbear (to do sth.); (b) to refrain from doing (sth.), eschew (sth.); (c) to refrain, forbear; ~ of, forbear; ~ for cost, spare for any expense; (d) to refrain; -- with that clause.
13.
(a) To neglect (to do sth.); (b) to neglect to do (sth.), leave (sth.) undone; (c) to neglect (sth.), disregard (sth.); letet, disregard it; (d) to omit (sth.), leave out; ~ bihinden, leave (sth.) behind, omit.
14.
(a) To think (that sth. is true), believe, suppose; ~ as, think or suppose that; letinge leste, fearing that; i lete, I suppose; as men (hit) ~, as men think or suppose; (b) to feel; del (sorwe) ~, feel sorrow, be sorrowful; ~ hali, ?feel scorn or hate, ?scorn or hate (sth.); ~ hetheliche, scorn (to do sth.); hevili ~, be heavy-hearted; ~ lightli, be cheerful; ~ wel, be happy or pleased.
15.
(a) To consider (sb. or sth.) to be (sth.), regard (sb.) as (sth.); also without object; ~ soth, consider (sth.) to be the truth; ~ unleflich, consider (sth.) unbelievable; ~ labour lost, regard (one's) labor as wasted; ~ lightli, take (sth.) lightly; ~ in vain, regard (sth.) as empty or vain; etc.; (b) ~ as (for, to ben), to regard (sb. or sth.) as (sth.); look on (oneself) as (a lord), take (sb.) for a rogue, etc.; (c) ~ of, to look upon (sb. or sth. in a certain manner); ~ hetheliche of, look with scorn upon (sb. or sth.); ~ lesse of, think less of (sb. or sth.), have a lower opinion of; ~ light (lightli, lite, litel, litel pris, litel tale) of, have a low opinion of (sb. or sth.), be contemptuous of, take lightly; ~ nought of lif, have no regard for (one's) chances of living, expect to die; ~ wel of, regard (sb. or sth.) highly, be proud of (sth.), be pleased with (sth.), have a high opinion of (oneself), etc.; also, (without object) be proud; ben ~ of, be highly regarded; etc.; (d) ~ on, ~ to = ~ of; (e) ~ bi = ~ of.
16.
(a) To pretend (that sth. is or is not so), act as though (one is doing, or will do, sth.); (b) ~ as (like, as though), to pretend (that sth. is or is not so), act as though (one is, or is doing, sth.); ~ of as, act concerning (sth.) as though (sth. were so); also, pretend (to do sth.).
17.
In senses most probably influenced by ON (cp. OI lāta `to behave, comport oneself', lāta at stjōrn of a ship: `obey the helm', etc.): (a) to pay attention, listen; listen to (sb.), pay attention to, ~ at (on, upon), pay attention to (teachings, etc.), listen to (sth.); ?also, believe in (sth.); (b) to behave (in a certain manner), act; refl. comport oneself.
18a.
~ abiden, to disregard (sth.).
18b.
~ ben: (a) to give up (sb. or sth.), part with, relinquish; (b) to leave (sb.), depart from; (c) to reject (sth.), discard, forsake, eschew; (d) to let (sb.) go, let (sb.) alone, leave (sth.) as it is, not bother (sb.), spare (sb.); (e) to desist from (fighting, bad behavior, words, speech, sorrow, etc.); cease (sth.); (f) to cease to speak or write of (sb. or sth.); ~ ben of, leave off about (sb. or sth.); (g) to stop, cease, desist; ~ hit ben; ~ ben of, desist from (skirmishing); (h) to disregard (sth.); omit (names); (i) let (hit) ben, let it pass, think nothing of it, do nothing; (j) ?so be it.
18c.
~ bileven, to cease to speak or write about (sb. or sth.); cease from singing (songs).
18d.
~ don, don ~: (a) to cause (sth.) to be done or made; (b) to cause (sb.) to be put or placed; ~ don of, have (one's hose) taken off; (c) in tautological uses: to cause (sth. to be done), have (sth. done); he let don crien, he had (the feast) announced; he dide ~ wedden, he caused (them) to be wedded; etc.
18e.
~ fallen: (a) to allow (sb. or sth.) to fall, drop; shed (tears); ~ fallen lok, let (one's) glance fall; (b) to permit (sth.) to happen; (c) to allow (sb.) to fail; (d) to let (one's anger) subside; (e) ben leten fallen, to be omitted or neglected.
18f.
~ flien: (a) to cause (arrows, a missile, etc.) to fly; shoot (arrows), cast (a stone), throw (a person); ~ flien to, shoot or cast at (sb. or sth.), shoot (arrows) at someone; (b) to make (a hawk) fly at game; (c) to allow (a battering ram) to swing; (d) to strike (with a sword, with the feet); ~ flien at, strike at (sb. or sth.); (e) to let (a fart).
18g.
~ gon: (a) to abandon (sth.), desert; reject (sth.); forsake (one's wife); (b) to let (sb.) alone, stop pestering (sb.); (c) to cause (sb.) to go, send away; cause (a trumpet) to sound; make (horses) run; (d) to allow (sb.) to go; release (sb. or sth.), allow (sb.) to escape; -- also without obj.; (e) to let (sth.) fly or fall; let (sth.) go by removing pressure or one's grip, let (a horse) run, shoot or cast (a stone); ~ gon blast, let a fart; (f) to spend money; (g) let gon, let the fight or chase begin, let's go; let gon the cuppe, let the cup go round, let us drink; (h) let (hit) gon, let it pass, no matter, forget it.
18h.
~ lien: (a) to leave (sb.) lying, leave prostrate or prone; (b) to cause (sb.) to lie or remain lying; (c) to allow (sb. or sth.) to lie; ?also, let (sb.) alone; also fig.
18i.
let loken, look now, see here [cp. ~ sen].
18j.
~ passen: (a) to leave (sb. helpless), leave (sth. undeclared); (b) to allow (sb. or sth.) to pass or go; let (a blow) go past; let (sth.) pass (out of one's mind); gost passen ~, give up the ghost; (c) to free (a prisoner), let (sb.) go free; dismiss (an apprentice); (d) to disregard (sb. or sth.); let hit passen, let the matter drop, let it pass; (e) ~ passen bi (of), ~ overpassen, to leave (sth.) out, omit (sth.).
18k.
~ rennen at (to), to let hounds run at (game).
18l.
~ sen: (a) to cause or allow (sb.) to see, know, or learn (sth.); let me sen, let us sen, etc.; las sen, let us see; (b) let me or us see (sth.), show me or us, let us find out; let sen of, let us know of (sth.); ~ ben sen, let it be seen; (c) as exclamation: look here, see here, hey.
18m.
~ sliden: (a) to let (sth.) slide (from one place to another); ~ dounsliden, let down (sails); (b) to make (the time) pass; ~ outsliden, put (sth.) out (of one's heart); (c) to neglect (to do sth.); omit (sth.); ~ oversliden.
18n.
~ slippen: (a) to omit (sth.); (b) hunt. to uncouple (hounds); ~ slippen at [cp. ~ rennen].
18o.
~ stonden: (a) to leave (sth.) standing or upright; leave (sth.) behind; (b) to desert (sb.); neglect (sth.); (c) to allow (sth.) to be (in a place, position, or condition); (d) to let (sth.) remain as it is, let (sth.) alone.
18p.
~ witen: (a) to cause (sb.) to know (sth.), tell (sb. sth.); inform (sb.); ~ witen of, let (sb.) know about (sth.); (b) in epistolary phrases, etc.: i (we) lete you witen, letinge you witen, etc.; (c) ~ him witen, may he know, let him be certain.
18q.
~ worthen, ~ iworthen, ~ aworthen: (a) to leave (sb.) alone or by himself; (b) to let (sb. or sth.) alone, not molest or bother; (c) to let (sb.) do as he likes, let (sb.) have his own way; let (sth.) go as it will; (d) to cease (strife); set aside (punishment); (e) to ignore (sb.); neglect (sth.); (f) to let a matter drop, let it go, forget it.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1400 Ancr.(Pep 2498)85/7 : Blissinge þat þou takest of hem bringeþ þe to deceyt & putteþ þe in to a pryde þorouʒ a wel late þat þou latest of þi selven for þat þou arte so praised.
  • Note: Could = lēten v. but might = lōten v.(4) (a new entry would have to be made) cp. phrase wel late s.v. wel adj. (or adv.) Not in Zeltersten.
  • a1400(c1303) Mannyng HS (Hrl 1701)3101 : And a lorde ful ofte latyþ: Now he louyþ, and now he hatyþ.
  • Note: Sense 17--per SMK
  • c1230 Ancr.(Corp-C 402)217/3 : Hwen ʒe beoð al greiðe, ilete blod, ʒe ne schule don na þing þe þreo dahes þet ow greueð.
  • Note: NF
    Note: ?finite impv.
    Note: ilete: if p.ppl of letten, as to also's? (we have ilet & lete, but no ilete)