Middle English Dictionary Entry

rīven v.(2)
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To tear (sb. or sth.) apart, dismember; tear up (a letter); also fig.; (b) to scratch (sb., skin, cheeks), tear with nails or claws; tear off (skin, flesh, etc.) with nails, teeth, etc.; tear out (feathers, one's hair); also fig.; ~ awei (up), pull up (a plant), uproot; ~ of, tear (a branch) from (the trunk of a tree); ~ oute, tear out (the entrails of a horse); (c) of limbs, sinews, veins: to tear apart, burst; (d) to tear with claws or beak; ppl. rivand as adj.: rending; (e) to pull (sb.), tug at; ~ from, drag (souls) away from (good); ~ oute of, drag (sb.) out of (prison); (f) to pull down (a building, an image); demolish (a city), destroy; destroy (sb.).
(a) To tear (cloths, clothes, an article of clothing); ?with pun on belle n.(2), beli n. [quot.: The last tyme]; ppl. riven as adj.: torn, ragged; also of a shoe or sack; (b) ~ of, to tear off (clothes, a garment); ~ from, tear off (one's clothes); (c) of clothing: to tear, rip; (d) ppl. riven as adj.: ornamentally slit, decorated with slashes.
(a) To split (sth.) through shock, impact, etc.; damage (a ship); ~ oute, tear out (a hole); ppl. riven as adj., of a dish: split, cracked; (b) to split apart, shatter, burst; of a document: tear; (c) to tear open (stitches).
(a) To split (armor, a piece of armor) with a weapon, cleave; (b) of a weapon, piece of armor, saddle: to break, shiver, or split as the result of a blow; (c) to split (wood); ppl. riven as adj., of boards: split; (d) to break (the ribs of sb.) with a blow.
(a) To stab (sb., a horse), pierce, cleave, cut with a weapon; -- also refl.; (b) to split (a head, heart, nose, carcass) with a weapon; ~ of, cut off (the nose of sb.); (c) ~ thurgh, to thrust (a sword) through (the body or heart of sb.); (d) ~ thurgh, to pierce (sb., a body, heart), penetrate with a weapon, stab; -- also without obj.; also, cut through (the ribs); (e) of a weapon: to cleave (a helmet); ~ thurgh (thurghout), pierce through (the neck, heart).
(a) To tear or split (the heart) with emotion; ~ hed, make the head (of sb.) ache, trouble (sb.); (b) of the heart: to split or break on account of an emotion; also of a pen.
To insert (an herb in a wound); string (the roots of an herb on a thread).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1450(c1400) Wor.Serm.(Wor F.10)70/641 : E þis sacrifise..þer was boþe harpyng' & syngyng'..Who harpid þer? Truliche Crist Him-silf..what was harpe? Noþyng' ell but His owne precius bodi. Þis harpe was wrafte so hie whan it was nailed o þe rode tre þat al þe strengis o þe harpe, ʒe, al þe synwes & al þe veynes e Cristes bodi al to-rayssched & to-brak at tones.
  • Note: New subsense for sense 4.: To break (sth.) to pieces, shatter;--used fig..
    Note: Editor's gloss: 'wrafte' = broken in pieces. See NED reave v.(2), the w- being an example of inverted spelling.--notes per MLL
    Note: ?Quot. belongs to rīven v.(2). The sense accords better here than in rēven v. Note past and p.ppl forms rafet, reft, raft.--per REL