Middle English Dictionary Entry

ayẹ̄n adv.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. onyen, aye.
(a) Back or away from something; to the rear, back, backwards; drawen ~, ten ~, draw back, withdraw; holden ~, hold back, check, restrain; putten ~, set or thrust back or away; turnen ~, wenden ~, turn to the rear, turn back or away; (b) with shal: away; fig. die; (c) back upon itself, in reverse, into a twisted position; turnen in ~, fold (a cloth) back under.
(a) Back to a place, back where one came from, back again, homeward; bringen ~, return (sth.), bring back; comen ~, faren ~, gon ~, turnen ~, wenden ~, return; (b) with shall, will: go (or come) back, return, go home; (c) loken ~, look toward the place from which one has come, look back; (d) with reference to echoes and reflections: back from the reflecting surface; dinnen ~, echo back, reëcho; smiten ~, be reflected; (e) back (to a character or subject) in a book or poem.
(a) Into a former state or condition, back again, once more; ben ~, be (sth.) once more; maken ~, remake (sth.), repair; (b) back into one's possession; haven ~, winnen ~, get back (sth.), recover; taken ~, yelden ~, give (sth.) back, restore; (c) sellen ~, sell (sth. which one has purchased), resell; deliveren (paien) out ~, pay out (money received).
(a) Of repeated action: a second time, another time, again; (b) ~ eft, eft ~, back again, once more, etc.
In contact with something, against, upon; knokken ~, beat against (sth.).
In opposition, in contradiction, hostilely, against; stonden ~, be in opposition, resist, withstand; saien ~, contradict.
(a) In return, in exchange; haven ~, have or get (sth.) in exchange (for sth.); loven ~, to return (someone's) love; scratlen ~, scratch back; smiten ~, strike back, return a blow; yeven ~, give (sth.) in exchange or in return; (b) in answer, in reply; answeren ~, seien ~, writen ~, yeven answere ~, etc.
As a translation of L re-; -- often tautological.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (a1382) WBible(1) (Bod 959)3 Kings 22.26 : Þe gretnesse forsoþe of þe watir vessel was of þre owncis & þe lippe of it as þe lippe of a chalis: & as a lef of a lilie to ben aȝeen boowid [alt. from: aparailid] [WB(2): crokid aȝen; L folium repandi lilii], yt contenede two thousend mesuris of þre quartys.
  • Note: New combinations and gloss: "~ bouwed, croked ~, turned up, curved backwards."
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 1.(c).
  • c1440(a1400) Eglam.(Thrn)181 : Agayne þe lady tase þe waye þe erle hir fadir for to sayd, Laye in a holde of stane.
  • Note: Additional quot. for sense 2.(a).
  • (c1465) Stonor1.62 : Þe kyng remevyth northward and purposyth into Schottland, ef þen he com akeyn.
  • Note: New form: Also..akein.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 2.(a).
  • c1450 De CMulieribus (Add 10304)1369 : There Jasons luf ageyn she obteyned.
  • Note: New form: Also..agein.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 3.(a).
  • a1425(?c1350) Ywain (Glb E.9)279 : To him I spak..And said, 'What ertow, belamy?' He said ogain, 'I am a man.'
  • Note: Quot. needed for date in sense 7.(b).
  • a1500(?a1400) SLChrist (Hrl 3909)1667 : Balaam..smot hys asse..and spak to hir fast..and þe asse spak fast aȝaynne and vnswaret hym to al thyng..
  • Note: New form: Also..aȝainne.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 7.(b).
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section is incomplete and needs revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--all notes per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Remove OE ongēn from the etymon and say something about the status of OE agēn, which is a variant or byform of ongēn. Some comment is needed so as to establish the rationale for this word versus ongēn adv.--per REL