Middle English Dictionary Entry

seuen v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To follow after; follow (sb., a group), walk behind; also fig.; be guided by (a star, a blind person); ~ after, come behind; also, follow (sb.); ~ bestes, drive (a team); seuinge hire fet, mistransl. of L pedisequas eius her servants; (b) to follow in pursuit; chase after (sb., a fox), pursue; ~ after, follow in pursuit; also, pursue (sb., a horse); ~ chace [see chace n.2.(a)]; ~ for (on), pursue (sb.); ~ on chace, ~ upon, follow in pursuit; (c) to track game; pursue (game), hunt; ~ after, join in the hunt; ~ forth blod, follow a trail of blood; ~ traces, fig. follow in the track; (d) to follow (sb. or sth.) with the eye; of a plant: follow (the sun); ~ after, follow with the eye; ~ with (herte and) eie.
(a) To be a companion; accompany (sb.); also, be with (sb.), support; attend (sb.), esp. as part of a retinue; also fig.; also [quot.: a1333], ?be in attendance; -- used fig.; seuinge in fere, of the neck and head of a roasted bird: together with the body; (b) to associate with (sb.); ~ (ivel) compaignie, keep (bad) company; ~ forth felaushipe; (c) to keep pace; keep pace with (sb.); (d) of a trench: to run parallel.
(a) To be a disciple of (sb., God, Christ), be an adherent of; belong to (a heathen religion); serve (a false god, the devil); ~ with, be a disciple of (Christ); (b) to imitate (sb. or sth.), be like; follow (an example); lapid. & physiol. correspond to (sth.), be like (sth.); also, vary with (sth.); ~ after, take after (one's father); (c) to court (a woman); -- used with dat. [1st quot.].
To follow (a military leader, God as military leader, a king); -- also without obj.; ~ banere, go to war under (someone's) command; also, stay with a banner (in battle); ~ on (to), follow (one's lord, a king); ~ servise, be loyal (to a queen).
(a) To strive, endeavor; try for (sth.), seek after, try to obtain; try (to do sth.); strive to bring about (that sth. be so); ~ for (after, to), strive to obtain (sth.); (b) to engage in (an enterprise, a profession, discipline), undertake; practice (a way of life); join in (conventual life); occupy oneself with (a musical instrument); (c) to continue, persevere; proceed with (an activity, a purpose, topic, etc.), follow through with; list (vices); follow up (a narrative); proceed (to do sth.); ~ on, continue [quot.: ?a1439]; (d) to pursue (diversion, vice, etc.); ~ to.
(a) To obey; observe (an edict, certain doctrine, a set of rules, etc.); accede to (someone's will); ~ sadel, of a horse: be saddle-broken; (b) to act in accordance with (reason, nature, etc.), be governed by; act upon (a medical theory); respond to (a stimulus); (c) to follow (a certain pattern), keep (a certain order); follow (a rule of grammar); take (sb.) as guide; reproduce (features of one's source); recount (a story, dialogue); ~ wommen, of inheritance: follow the female line of descent; (d) to accord with (sth.); ppl. seuinge, appropriate, worthy; also, appropriate to (a Gospel text); (e) to be characteristic of (sb.), be a concomitant of, characterize.
(a) To oppress (sb.), afflict; enforce (a penalty); ~ up, take action against (sb.); (b) to be envious; envy (sb.).
(a) To be still to come, be due to come; live later than (sb.); succeed (sb.), occur after; ~ after, succeed (sb.), follow (sth.) in time; ppl. seuinge, pending, to come; (b) to come next or later in a document; come next in a narrative, list, etc.; ~ after; hit seueth; (c) ppl. seuinge, next, subsequent, ensuing; also, as noun: the next one; seuinge after; seuinge upon, after (a passage), following on; (d) ~ after, to be next in position.
(a) To result, ensue; result from (sth.), develop from; ~ of (after), result from (sth.); hit seueth of, ?it results in (sth.); ?error for hit snoueth of [s.v. snouen v.]; ppl. seuinge, ensuing, resulting; (b) to follow logically; hit seueth, it follows (that sth. is so), it is clear; seuinge on, following from; (c) to occur.
(a) To plead for love; petition (to have sth., that sth. be done); petition for (a license, pardon); ~ for, ask for (sb. or sth.); ~ to, petition (sb.); petition (sb., the king to do sth.), entreat; ~ to theire sight, request to see them; ~ unto, petition (God, the king); (b) ~ message, to make a petition in prayer; ~ to, pray to (God, the Virgin Mary, a god).
Law (a) To take legal action, sue; -- also refl.; conduct a legal action; -- used fig. [quot.: c1450]; sue (to have sth. done); take legal action against (sb.), sue; ~ assise ayen, sue (sb.) in the assize court; ~ commune laue, sue according to common law; ~ hit (matere), bring an action concerning (sth.); ~ laue, take legal proceedings; also, execute the law [quot.: Lambeth SSecr.]; ~ on, accuse (sb.); ~ oute, sue to recover (property); also, see (a suit) through the courts; ~ to, allege (sth.) in court against (sb.); ~ to assise, bring an action in the assize court; ~ upon, bring an action claiming (someone's property); (b) ~ accioun, to file an action in a court; also, press (one's) litigation; ~ bille (claim, pleinte, write), file a bill (claim, etc.) with a court; ~ sute, ~ forth pleinte, proceed with a suit or legal complaint; (c) ~ divorce, fig. to sue for divorce of one's soul from God, i.e., by sin; ~ livere, sue for possession (of sth.); ~ londes (rightes, etc.).
(a) To go, proceed, move forward [quot.: c1475 may be an error for swimmen v.]; ~ abrode, of a plant: spread; ~ ayen (upon), attack (sb.); ~ forth; ~ to, go to (sb., a place); also, attack (sb.); ~ unto, go to (sb.); also, attack (sb.); (b) fig. to issue, come; come to (sb.); go along (the path of truth); ~ stepes, go along a track; also, follow an example.
Misc. (a) To honor (sb.); -- transl. of L prosequi; (b) ~ the ongle, see ongle n.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1450 SLeg.MPChr.(StJ-C B.6)257 : Oure lord bad hem also swue [read: suwe] and þei forsake anon Fader and schip & alle here nettys & ȝede with hym wol son.
  • ?a1450 Poem Hawking (Yale 163)304 : When that þu beres her ferre in the felde, Hodyd a-geyns evyn loke that þu her bere…For many thynges oft-tyme wylle she suer [read: suen].
  • Note: New spelling: Also.. (error) suer.
    Note: [rime: bere].
  • c1400 Apoc.(2) (Hrl 171)31/17 : And lo, a pale hors wente out, and deeþ was his name þat satt on him, and helle sued him.
  • c1400 Apoc.(2) (Hrl 171)61/20 : And I siȝ oon of his heedis as slayn, and þe wounde of his deeþ was heelid. And al erþe merueilide, & sewide þe beest, and worschipen þe dragoun, þat ȝaf suche power to þe beest.
  • a1450 SLeg.MPChr.(StJ-C B.6)2895 : Þese tokenyngys hem suwe schal þat leuyn truly al this: Deuelis þei schul in my name out caste & dryue iwis, [etc.].
  • c1450(a1375) Octav.(2) (Clg A.2)446 : Anoon sche leep on her palfray. The tygre sche suede all þat day.
  • c1450(a1375) Octav.(2) (Clg A.2)1832 : A lyonesse þys bar me fro, And y suede after wyth sorow & wo.
  • c1450(a1375) Octav.(2) (Clg A.2)1837 : I suede hem to þe Grekyssch see And com to Brandyȝt, to þe cyte,
Note: In sense 11.(a), the first quot. may belong to sweien v.(2). The same form swyed is used in sweien sense (c): c1450(1415). At least a cautionary note (like that in sweien v.(2)) ought to be added to the etymology of seuen v.(1).--perMJW

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: The quot. from Owl & N. 1526 (sense 3a.(c) may be read as '..suieþ..'; see M. Laing, "The Owl and the Nightingale: Five New Readings and Further Notes," Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 108:3 (2007), p. 462 n.40: "Suieþ is a plausible development in Middle English from AF suier."