Middle English Dictionary Entry

shẹ̄ pron.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

As anaph. or pers. pron.: (a) the female person referred to, she; (b) used pleonastically, or for emphasis; (c) with antecedent in apposition following: she; ~ this, usu. translating L haec or ista: she, this one [in last quot. she is prob. in an absolute constr., though it could be construed as the object of biholden v.]; (d) used determinatively: ~ (..) that, ~ the which, she who, the one who; (e) used indefinitely: ~ and ~, this one and that one; (f) referring to woman in general: womankind.
As anaph. or pers. pron.: (a) referring to an animal, a bird, an insect, etc.: she, it; -- used with both female creatures and others regarded as female; also used pleonastically; (b) referring to an inanimate object, a plant, land, town, church, sea, siege, etc.: she, it; -- generally used with nouns orig. grammatically feminine; also used pleonastically; (c) referring to a personified abstraction, a soul, Holy Church, Fortune, Venus, the earth or moon, a muse, etc.; -- also with antecedent in apposition following; also used determinatively.
As noun: (a) the female; a female human being, animal, bird, or plant; ~ and (or) he, he or ~, the) he and ~; (b) in combs.: a female; -- also used with a tree considered as female; ~ ape (got, lomb, wolf, etc.).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • 1468 *Medulla (StJ-C C.22)107b/b : Tegellaria: a she tylare
  • Note: Unlikely occupation for a woman. Seems to be attempt to explain Latin feminine. Other uses lack or simply say 'feminine gender'. Note "tegularia," which seems to be a witch.--per MM
    Note: "tegularia venefica super tegulas sacrificans" (Dict. of Medieval Latin from British Sources).
  • ?a1450 Poem Hawking (Yale 163)569,573 : The tarcell-gentill is worst of alle, For she wolle fly full oft a-way…Ther-for þat she fle not an hye, Hang on ii bellys on other legge.
  • ?a1450 Poem Hawking (Yale 163)591 : The tarcell-gentill may not defye, Sum-tyme her gorge…ouer-putte; Ordeygne her ther-for twy or thry Rounde stones…as muche as a nutte Lay them a-forne her…She wille receyue hem…And kest hem a-geyne.
  • Note: We need to add to sense 2.(a) something to accomodate these quots, where what is well-known to the writer to be a male bird (a tercel is always a male and the falcon the female of the species) is generically referred to with female pronouns. Perhaps change the part after the dash (--) to read: "used with female creatures and others regarded as female; also used generically of the tercel (which is male [quots.:?a1450]); also used pleonastically;" and add the quots.--per MJW
  • c1400 Apoc.(2) (Hrl 1203)96/6 : [Hrl 171: neiþer voice of ] he spouse nor of she spouse [schal be herd.]
  • Note: 3.(b) per REL
  • a1450 Aue maris stella (Sln 2593)2 : AUe maris stella…dei mater alma, blyssid mot Xe be.
  • Note: New spelling