Middle English Dictionary Entry

valei(e n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. vale n.
(a) A defined area, often long and narrow, of lower elevation than the surrounding terrain, sometimes bisected by a stream or river, a dale, valley, ravine, etc.; (b) a valley conceived as a pleasant, comfortable area, place of refuge, haven, etc.; also, a secluded spot, hidden place [1st quot.]; dep (grene, fair, plaine, wodi, etc.) ~; (c) a valley conceived as an impassable region or an obstacle to travelers; also, ?an inescapable gorge or a crevasse [last quot.]; (d) a valley as a place of battle; also, an open area where armies meet, a battlefield; (e) mistransl. of It. vallo rampart [2nd quot.]; middel ~, ?an intervening valley; ?a space [translating L intervallum].
In generalizing phrases: valeies and plaines, mountaines and valeies, nou mountaines nou valeies, high places and low, every single place, everywhere; on) hille ne ~, dounes ne valeies, in) neither high place nor low, in) not a single place, nowhere; over valeis and hilles, over the dounes and the valeies, over mountaines and over valeies, here, there, and everywhere, all over.
In phrases denoting specific valleys: (a) ~ of ebron (josaphat, jordan), etc.; ~ of tabernacles (the visioun); (b) ~ of enchauntement; ~ perilous, develes ~.
Fig. and in fig. contexts: (a) the (this) ~ of teres, the ~ of wepinge and morninge, the earth, earthly life, etc. as a place or period of tribulation, trials, sorrow, etc.; (b) the nether world; the pit of hell, Hades; also, the approach to the underworld [2nd quot.]; ~ of derknesse (helle); (c) lilie of the valeies, lily of the valley;—used as a symbol of Christ and of persons in the religious life; (d) depths, profundity; used in phrases: ~ of meknesse, a state of humiliation, humility; ~ of nouȝtines, depths of annihilation, nothingness; ~ of ouen knouleche, self-knowledge as opposed to higher knowledge or union with the divine; ~ of this restles minde, a state of depression, discontent or unease in mind or spirit.
(a) ?A crevice; ?an irregularity of surface, a depression; (b) a trench, ditch; also, the depression between ridges made by a plow.
In surnames and as place name.