Middle English Dictionary Entry

sitten v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To be in a sitting position, be seated; occupy a seat; also, with adverbs: ~ abenche, be seated at table; ~ abouten, be sitting around in an area; ~ on, sit by; ~ softe, be comfortably seated; ~ upright, be seated in an upright posture, sit up straight; also, ~ the psalmes, sit during the recitation of the Psalms; (b) with inf.: to be seated (to do sth.); (c) ~ stille, to sit motionless; also, sit silently; (d) to take a seat, sit down; -- also refl.; often used with adverbs: ~ adoun (doun), sit down; ~ up (upright), sit up; (e) with inf.: to sit down (to do sth.); ~ adoun, take a seat (to do sth.); (f) to be mounted on a steed; ~ faste (softe), be mounted firmly (comfortably); ~ on (to, up, upon), sit on (a horse, an ass, etc.); ~ in sadel (sadel sete), ~ on sege, sit in a saddle; ~ on (upon) bak, sit on horseback; also, sit on (someone's) back as if astride a steed, ride (sb.); (g) to have a customary seat, have an assigned seat; be seated habitually (in a place); (h) to void excrement; (i) fig. ~ heighe (alofte, ~ heighe in se, ~ heighest in sete, ~ in heigh chaieres, ~ on heigh stages, to be in a state of prosperity, be powerful, be pre-eminent; ~ heighest (aboven) on whel, sit high on Fortune's wheel, prosper; ~ with the first and the heighest, have high rank; (j) ~ (adoun) akne, ~ (adoun, doun) on knes, ~ (adoun, doun) upon kne, etc., to kneel; -- sometimes refl.; (k) with selected prep. phrases: ~ at (to) bord (mete, sopere, etc.), ~ toforen bord, to sit at table (a meal, supper, etc.); ~ at bede (in praieres), sit in prayer; ~ at bok, sit reading; ~ at werke; ~ on ouen, fig. sit on (one's) possessions, hold on to (one's) property; ~ to explanacioun, fig. busy oneself with composing the commentary (on a Biblical book); also, with adv.: ~ doun to mete, sit down to a meal; (l) with selected adverbs: ~ togeder, to encamp; ~ upright and entenden to, fig. sit up and attend to (sth.), be diligent about; (m) inf. as noun: the act of sitting [1st quot.]; ppl. sittinge as noun: one who sits, a sitter; (n) in proverbs and prov. expressions.
(a) Of an animal: to crouch, squat; sit; of a serpent or worm: lie; also, in one of the names for the hare: sitte stille; ~ up, rear up on the haunches; (b) of a bird or fowl: to perch; roost; nestle [quot.: a1500(?a1450)]; also, of an image or figure of a bird: perch (on a helmet's crest); ~ abrode (on brod), sit on eggs to hatch them; sittinge hen, a hen that produces eggs; (c) of an insect: to alight and remain in a place, settle, perch; (d) in proverb.
To occupy a special seat of honor, pre-eminence, etc.: (a) of a king: to sit enthroned, sit in state; with prep. phrases: ~ in (o) kinesetle, ~ in sege (sete, throne), ~ on (upon) se, etc., sit on the throne; fig. hold kingship, reign; ~ in davides sete (on davides throne, on solomones solie), rule Israel; ~ upon the chaiere of moises, of Scribes and Pharisees: assume the authority of Moses; (b) to hold an episcopal or the papal see, be bishop or pope; also, with noun complement: ~ pope, be pope; ~ in popehede (the sege..mynster), occupy the papal (an episcopal) see; (c) to have a seat in a legislative, investigative, or advisory body, sit in council, assembly, etc.; with inf.: meet in session (to do sth.); ~ on billes, hold deliberation on bills; ~ upon verdit, of a jury: deliberate upon a verdict; (d) to sit as judge, sit in judgment; hold judicial proceedings, hold court; also, sit as a defendant in judicial proceedings [quot.: 1457]; with noun complement: ~ juge, be a judge; ~ as domesman (justice), ~ for juge, sit as a judge; ~ in dom (jugement), ~ on dom setle, ~ upon sete of domesman, etc., act as judge; ~ on (upon), sit in judgment on (sb.); preside over an inquest upon (a death); pass judgment in (a case); (e) of a confessor: to hear confession; (f) of God or Christ: to sit enthroned in Heaven; of the Virgin Mary, saints, souls of the saved, etc.: have a place in Heaven, sit in Paradise; of Lucifer: make (his) seat; of Antichrist: sit (with Lucifer in Hell); also in oaths and asseverations: bi god that sittes aboven; ~ upon sise, of Christ: hold court at the Last Judgment; (g) of a court: to be in session.
To be or be placed in a specified place or position; -- usu. with prep. phrase or adverb: (a) of a person: to be (in a ship, in prison, on land, etc.); of God: lie (upon the waters at Creation); ~ on rode, be on the cross, be crucified; ~ with, associate with (sb.), keep company with; (b) of a seat, an object, etc.: to be positioned, be placed; of a city: be situated, be located; of a degree, position, etc.: fall (in a place on an astrolabe); also, of a day: fall (in a certain place in the calendar); (c) of a heavenly body: to be (in a place), take a position (in a sign of the zodiac); also in prov. expression; also, of the projection of a star on the reet of an astrolabe: be positioned; of a wind: be found (in a region); ~ mor or lasse, of the moon: wax or wane; (d) of a written character: to be placed (in a specified place on the page or in a table); of a topic or an illustrative narrative: be found (in a work); (e) of a bodily member or organ, a pimple, sore, etc.: to be found (in or on a part of the body), be located, lie; ~ even, of teeth: be evenly aligned; ~ hid, lie hidden.
(a) To lie in wait, lie in ambush; ~ abouten, besiege (sb.); ~ in awaite (waites, aspies); (b) ~ up, to stay up late at night.
(a) To be supported, rest; ~ on (upon), rest on (sth.), lie on; ~ sore, press heavily on (sb.), weigh on; (b) of a garment, ring, crown, etc.: to rest on the body, be worn; fit; ~ in, press or cut into (the flesh, one's head); sittinge clothe, ?a tight-fitting garment; (c) fig. of evils: to rest (upon sb.), befall.
(a) To adhere, stick; of fruit on the tree: cling; ~ faste, of teeth, hair: be firmly attached; (b) of a spearhead: to be fixed (in someone's side).
(a) To preside; ~ oute-over, rule (sb.), have authority over; ~ upon in (to), be in charge of (sth.); (b) of a prayer: to prevail, be granted.
(a) To reside, dwell; of a hare: make its burrow or nest, be in its burrow or nest; ~ on place, occupy property as a tenant; (b) fig. of a quality, faculty, vice, virtue, etc.: to reside (in sth., in a part of the body), be found (in a place, among persons, etc.); (c) ~ in (neighe, ner, nexte) herte, to be dear to (someone's) heart, be beloved; ~ in inwit (minde, soule), be pleasing to or find favor with (someone's) heart.
(a) To remain in a place, stay, abide; also in proverb [1st quot.]; ~ on bouk, fig. of life: remain in the body; ~ stille, stay in the same place, stay where one is; gon and (ne, or) ~, go and (nor, or) stay; (b) to last; ~ in-to ever-mor, endure forever.
To be in a specified physical, spiritual, or emotional state or condition; be in a specified political or social state; also, continue in such a state: (a) with prep. phrases: ~ in (on, withouten); ~ in meni-ver, to be clad in miniver; (b) with adv., adj., or ppl.: ~ awri, of speech: to be devious; ~ blithe (sori, idel, etc.), be happy (sad, idle, etc.); ~ cold, fig. of the heart: grow cold with apprehension; ~ faste, remain steadfast; ~ softe, be in comfort; also, with noun complement: ~ king (quene, widwe), be king (a queen, a widow); (c) ~ stille, to remain motionless; also, keep silent.
To endure (sth.), bear; ~ with, put up with (sth.).
(a) To have an effect; affect (sb.), afflict; ~ in flesh and bon, affect (sb.) to the core; ~ neigh herte, sit near (one's) heart, affect deeply; (b) ~ ivel (sore, unsofte, etc.), to grieve (sb., the soul), afflict; ~ lite at herte, affect (sb.) little; ~ sore at (unto, til, to) herte, ~ colde to herte, grieve (someone's) heart; (c) ~ heighe (sore), to cost (sb.) dearly; ~ so harde, be worth so much (to sb.).
(a) To be suitable, be fitting; be becoming (to sb.); be suitable to (sb.), suit; be pleasing to (sb.); (b) impers. hit) sitteth, it is appropriate (to sb.); it is befitting (to do sth., that sth. be done); it is proper (to or for sb. to do sth., that he do sth.), it is fitting; (c) ben sittinge, to be fitting (to sb. or sth.), be fitting (to do sth., to or for sb. to do sth., that sth. be so); -- usu. impers.; ppl. sittinge, suitable, fitting; wel sittinge, q.v.
(a) To feel inclined, like; ~ to, fig. of the heart: be inclined to (sb.); (b) ppl. sittinge, attractive, pleasing.
To accord, be in agreement; ~ same, be consistent; ~ wel of (with), accord well with (one's lineage, beauty).
To resist, oppose; withstand (a blow, stroke, etc.); -- ?also without obj. [quot.: c1440(a1400)]; ?also refl. [quot.: a1470]; also, disregard (a command); ~ ayen, oppose (sb.) in battle.
Of a hurled stone: to strike, hit.
With diminished force: (a) with another verb or ppl. which conveys the more emphatic verbal sense: ~ and carpen (don no thing, titlen), to sit and grumble (do nothing, write); ~ fix (hid, etc.), be fixed (hidden, etc.); ~ wishinge after, wish for (sth.); also with adj.: ~ prive, be concealed, lie hidden; (b) in generalizing expressions: gon or riden or ~ or stonden, to do anything; wher I sit or stond or go, wherever I may be; whether we sitten walken or stonden, whatever we do.
(a) To make (sb.) sit, seat (sb.); (b) to place (sth.) somewhere; ~ awei, arith. cancel (sth. in a calculation); ~ herte, fig. give one's love; (c) to engage in planting; (d) to assail (sb.); (e) of a sea current: to flow (in a certain direction); (f) ~ biforen, to prefer (sth.) to (sth.); ~ nought bi, set nought by (sb.), have little regard for; (g) to set (a time to do sth.), agree upon, fix on; (h) with inf.: ~ at semen, to make (sth.) be acceptable; (i) to put (sb.) into a specified political, social, or spiritual state; ~ doun, ruin (sth.); set ful of, of a branch: filled with (leaves); (j) with inf.: ~ abouten, to set about (to do sth.), undertake; (k) ~ forth, to express (sth.) in speech or writing; put forth (complaints).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1400 Ashm.1444 Cook.Recipes (Ashm 1444)154.18/3 : [Tak & put half a quart of hony in a bras panne & boyle it wel ouer þe fer, & ster it] with a potstyk of tre þat it sit noght to.
  • Note: SM
    Note: Cp. the c1450 quot. in sitten 7.(a) where ingredients are stirred so they don't stick to the pot while being heated.--per MJW