Middle English Dictionary Entry

bihōten v.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

To promise (sth.); promise (to do sth.); -- (a) with obj.; (b) with clause; (c) with inf. phrase.
(a) To make or give a promise (to sb.); promise; ~ fair, wel, promise sincerely or with good intentions; (b) ~ bi)hest, ~ behot, to give a promise.
To promise solemnly, pledge, vow; vow (chastity, etc.), ~ vou; pledge (loyalty); ~ to God, ~ on halidom, ~ upon trouthe, ~ with oth, etc.; promise (sb.) in marriage; pledge one's troth; -- (a) with obj.; (b) with clause; (c) with inf. phrase; (d) alone.
Theol. Of God: to promise or hold out hope of (eternal life, reward, etc.); þat bihotene lond, the Promised Land; threaten (damnation).
(a) To assure (sb.) of (sth.); reassure (sb.); hold out hope of (sth.); (b) I the bihote, I assure you, I tell you; (c) of things: to give promise or arouse hope of (sth.); ~ hope; portend (death).
(a) To charge or urge (sb. to do sth.); demand (sth.);(b) ?to assert (sth.).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1300(OE) Deed Crediton (CotR 2.11)115 : Hich.. behithe [to] ʒiuenisse to bote mire mere leuedie an[d] to mire cherche.
  • Note: New form: Also..(early) behithe.
  • c1400 St.Anne(1) (Min-U Z.822.N.81)1565 : Ihesus byght hym, 'within thre days, Iosep, ʒe sall be þar.'
  • Note: New form: preterite 3. sg.: bight
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 1b.(a).
  • 1447 Bokenham Sts.(Arun 327)151 : If wyth broche or ryng The foot [of St. Margaret] men towche..and wyth hem it bere, If they ben in ony dreed or fere..lete hem be-hete Thedyr to bere and there to lete The same thyng that towchyd the fote, And they shul sone han helthe & bote.
  • Note: Additional quot. for sense 1a.(c).
    Note: ?Remove the '(late)' designation from the infinitive bihēten, since the (infinitive) in Bokenham is not late.
  • c1450(?a1422) Lydg.LOL (Dur-U Cosin V.2.16)3.681 : There sholde be boren A childe..Of a mayde..nowe, in sothe, comyn is the day, Of prophetes so longe aforn be-hight.
  • Note: ?New sense.
    Note: Gloss: To assert (sth.), declare.
  • c1475(1464) Hardyng Chron.B (Hrl 661)p.326 : Behete [Grafton: To the trewce..The dukes two of Burgoyne and Burbone In the kynges soule of Fraunce swore and hete..to kepe for frendes or for foone.]
  • Note: Additional quot. for sense 1a.(c).
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section may be incomplete and / or may need revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--notes per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.4vb (Prologue) : For God helping and þe obedience of myn ordre noʒt agaynstanding, I bihete me for to make a werk by itselfe þerto.
Note: ?New phr. I ~ me = 1 sg. (refl.) = (I) promise.