Middle English Dictionary Entry

shāven v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To scrape (sth.) with a knife or tool; scrape (a parchment, hide, etc.); scrape the skin from (a tongue); also fig.; scrape or slice (sth.) into thin pieces, grate; rub (sth.); of a medicine: chafe or abrade (the intestines); ppl. shaven, scraped; cut into small pieces; (b) to remove (sth.) by scraping or paring; also fig.; cut out (the intestines) of a dead animal; slice off (bits of flesh) from a hide; erase (sth.) from a parchment; cut (fingernails); ~ awei, scrape or pare (sth.) off, remove; also fig.; ~ of (oute of); ~ oute fro, remove (sb.) from (the land of the living), obliterate (sb.) from (the earth); (c) to sharpen (sth.) by scraping or cutting; smooth or plane (sth.), polish; ppl. shaven as adj.: ?sharpened; ?made smooth by cutting; (d) med. to scrape (a bone, the teeth) with a surgical instrument; (e) to gather (bees) into a hive.
(a) To scrape away hair, shave the face or head; remove hair close to the skin; also, fig. deceive someone [quot.: c1475-c1500]; ~ awei; (b) to cut off the hair of (sb.) close to the skin; shave the face or head of (sb.); shave the skin of (sb.) in the course of medical treatment; tonsure the head of (sb.); ~ him a prest doun to the nekke, cut off his head; ben shaven, be shaved; also, fig. be bereft of money [quot.: c1450(1399)]; ben shaven a monk, be made a monk by tonsuring; ben shaven round, fig. be wounded in battle; ppl. shaven, tonsured; half shaven, half shaven; (c) to cut off the hair from (the head), shave; shave (the head) as part of medical treatment; tonsure (the head); also, cut off (the head); ~ coroune; ~ hem a coroune, shave their heads; ~ him a coroune brod (brod coroune), tonsure one's own head; also, cut off someone's head; ~ of, shave off the hair and skin from (the head) as a form of torture; ben shaven the hed, have the head shaved; ppl. shaven, shaven; tonsured; shaven to the bon, cut, wounded; (d) to shave off (the hair) from the head or body; -- often as part of medical treatment; shave off (the beard, a part of the beard), cut off; shave (hair) from a horse's body; ~ awei, shave away (hair, a beard); -- also without obj.; ~ of; (e) to shave (a part of a body, the edge of a wound); also, shave (the body or part of the body of a horse); (f) in proverb and prov. expressions; ~ berd.
In plant names: shave gras (wort), a plant of the genus Equisetum, prob. E. hiemale; also used medicinally.
In place name and surnames.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500(a1450 Ashmole SSecr.(Ashm 396)62/34 : Fisshes of smale substaunce, of sotell skynne, and light to be chaved..ben lightest and best.
  • Note: New form: ppl. ..chaved.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 1.(b).
    Note: Add new gloss: To scale (a fish).--per MLL