Middle English Dictionary Entry

mọ̄ten v.(2)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

To be allowed, be permitted, may: (a) present forms with pr. or fut. meaning; (b) in negative clauses; (c) past forms with past meaning [cp. sense 6.]; (d) in neg. clauses.
With liven: to be permitted to live, live; ?also, be able to live.
To be compelled (to do sth.) by forces which control or overrule the will; have to do (sth.), must: (a) present forms with pr. or fut. meaning; (b) past forms with past meaning [cp. 6.].
To be compelled by destiny or the nature of things (to do or be sth.), must: (a) present forms with pr. or fut. meaning; (b) past forms with past meaning [cp. 6.].
In phr. mot nede(s, nede(s mot, most nede, moste nede(s, nede(s moste, mostest nede(s, etc., must needs (do, be, suffer, or undergo sth.), must under compulsion, must necessarily: (a) present forms with pr. or fut. meaning; -- also with implied predicate; (b) past tense forms with past meaning [cp. 6.]; -- also with implied pred.; -- also impersonal.
In phr. mot nedeli, nedeli mot, most nedinge (nedlinge), nedeli (nedinges, nedlinges, nedegates) moste, must needs (do sth., happen), must necessarily, must under compulsion: (a) present forms with pr. or fut. meaning; (b) past forms with past meaning [cp. 6.].
To be intent on (doing sth.), insist on; have an inner compulsion (to do sth.).
To be compelled by facts or reason (to be or do sth.); he moste connen, he must know, we must assume that he knows; hit mot ben, it must be (that sth. is the case), we must suppose (on the basis of the evidence).
With implied infinitive or predicate drawn from the context: (a) to be permitted (to do or be or become sth.), may; (b) to be compelled or required (to do sth.), must; mot nede, moste nedes; (c) ought (to do sth.) [cp. 7a.]; (d) to perhaps be able (to do sth.), might [cp. 7b.]; (e) would (be sth.) [cp. 7c.].
With implied inf. not drawn from the context: (a) to be permitted to go, may go; (b) may immerse; (c) to be under compulsion to go (come); must go (come); must be paid [quot.: Ich herdemen]; (d) must do (sth.); (e) must be, is necessary; (f) ought to go [cp. 7a.]; (g) can avail [cp. 7b.]; (h) shall (will) go [cp. 7c.]; mot atwo, will break in two; (i) shall (will) do (sth.).
Past tense forms with pr. or fut. meaning: (a) to be allowed or permitted (to do or have sth.), may; (b) to be compelled (to do sth.) by forces or circumstances which control or overrule the will; be required (to be or have sth.); must; (c) to be compelled by destiny or the nature of things (to do, be, or undergo sth.); must; ther moste ben, there must be (two kidneys, a battle); (d) moste nede(s, nedes moste, mostest nede, nedes mostest, moste nedeli, nedeli (nedinges, nede-weies) moste, must needs (do, be, have, suffer, or undergo sth.), must necessarily [cp. 2c., 2d.].
Present forms with past meaning: (a) to be allowed (to do sth.); -- also with implied inf. of motion; (b) to be required or compelled (to do sth.); (c) mot nedes, must of necessity.
In senses very close to those of ME ouen and shulen or MnE ought and should [although the verb usually retains something of the idea of compulsion found in sense 2.]: (a) ought (to do, have, be, or undergo sth.), ought (to happen), should (do, have, be, etc.); so hit moste bifallen, as it ought to be, as was appropriate; thei moten ben thus served, they deserve to be treated thus; thou most haven, you should have (sth.), it is advisable that you have; we moten iheren, we ought to hear, it is only right that we hear; etc.; (b) in proverb.
In senses resembling those of ME mouen and connen or MnE can, could [with vestiges of the older sense 'be permitted, may' of moten]: (a) to be able (to do sth.), can or could (do, be, or undergo sth.); also with implied predicate drawn from the context; in al that he mote riden, as fast as he could ride; (b) in weaker sense: to perhaps be able (to do or be sth.), might; mosti riden, if I might ride.
In senses resembling those of MnE shall, should, will, would, may, might [with vestiges of older meanings of moten]: (a) expressing, in the main, futurity: shall, will; in past: should, would; ne mostu drink underfon, you will not receive drink, ?you shall not receive drink; till he moste dien, till he died; (b) in wishes, prayers, expressions of future contingency, etc.: may, might, shall, will; that his lif mot lesen, so that he shall lose (may lose, loses) his life; ye moten consenten, you may (will) consent; that hit moste turnen, that it might (would) turn; etc.
In impersonal constructions: (a) must, it behooves, it is necessary that; also with implied predicate; nedes moste me (him moste), me mot nedes, him moste nedes, nedeli moste us [cp. 2c. & 2d.]; me moste pleien, it is necessary that I play, it behooves me to play, I must play; the moste restoren, you must restore; him moste nedes dien, he was necessarily fated to die; us moste haven (putten), it is necessary that we have (put), it behooves us to have (put); etc.; (b) to be intent upon (doing sth.); me moste, I must (have my will); I am intent upon (seeing); (c) ought, should; us moste, we ought (to do sth.); (d) to be able; that us so mote, that we be able to do it; -- predicate implied; (e) moste me, I shall, I will.
In prayers: so mot (moste) hit ben, so may it be, so be it; that hit mot ben so, that) hit mot so ben, that) hit so mot ben, that it may be, be done, or happen thus; with implied inf.: that hit so mot.
In greetings: welcome mot thou ben, may you be welcome, you are welcome; etc.
In selected oaths and asseverations: (a) so (as, also) mot ich then, so mot ich ithen, as ich mot ithen, so may I thrive, as I may prosper, as sure as I hope to prosper; so mot thou then; (b) so (also, as, as ever) mot ich thriven, so mot ich ithriven, so may I prosper, as I may thrive, as sure as I hope to thrive; so mot he (we) thriven, as mot we thriven, as he moste thriven, also moste he thriven, as thei mosten ithriven; (c) so mot (moste) ich gon, so ich mot gon, as ever mot ich gon, so may I go (live), as sure as I hope to live; so mot ich haven mi lif; (d) miscellaneous.
In selected blessings and curses: (a) blessings: blessed mot thou (he, she, thei) ben, may you (he, etc.) be blessed; iblessed mot thou (he) ben, blessed moste thei ben, al he moten iblessed ben; mot thou wel faren, moten he wel ben, wel moten ye faren (ben), may you (they) be well; ai mot he liven, may he live forever; sauf and sounde mot þou ben, may you be safe and sound; wel moten ye cheven, may you be successful; godes pes moten ye haven, may you have God's peace; godes blessinge mot she haven; longe mot thou seilen, long may you sail; softe mot thou stiren, gently may you travel; (b) curses: ivele mot thou (he, she, thei) faren, ivele mot thou (he, she) thriven, ivele moten ye then, ivele mot he speden, never mot she then, mot he never speden, may you (he, etc.) be unlucky; ivele mot he sterven, ivel deth moten ye dien, may he (you) die an evil death; honged mot he ben, hang him; heighe mot thou (he) hongen, may you (he) be hanged high; def mot he worthen, may he become deaf; shame mot thou fongen, may you get shame; sorwe mot thou haven, may you have sorrow; cristes curs mot thou haven, may you have Christ's curse; godes curs moten he haven; acursed mot thou (moten he) ben; thi thrift mot thou tenen; etc.; (c) miscellaneous blessings and curses: thou moste haven the scalle, may you have the scabies; the that hem maketh moten ben ilich hem, may those who make them be like them; etc.; (d) impers. foule mot the fallen, may evil befall you; wel hire mot bitiden, may happiness (prosperity, success) come to her; etc.
?Error for bot, var. of but conj.