Middle English Dictionary Entry

weien v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. awecgan v., aweien v.
(a) To perform or supervise the weighing of goods or commodities; ~ the werse, weigh dishonestly, give wrongful weight; (b) to ascertain the weight of (sth.) by means of a balance or similar device; ben weied bi weght, of a commodity: be weighed by a certain standard unit of weight; ~ with, weigh (sth.) by balancing it against (a counterweight of set amount); (c) to pay out or dispense (money, coins, payment, etc.) by weight, weigh out; ~ oute (up); ~ treuth, ?weigh out an honest weight, weigh honestly; (d) of God the Creator: to measure out (the waters of the world), mete out.
Fig. (a) To weigh (sb., a soul, one’s deeds, etc. in or as in a balance) to determine worthiness of divine punishment or reward, damnation or salvation; weigh (the soul) on the divine balance at the Day of Judgment; (b) to dispense (love, largesse, etc.) as if by weight, apportion.
(a) To have weight; have substantial weight;—usu. with adj. or adv. complement; ~ gret, of one’s purse: be heavy with coins, be full; ~ hevi, be heavy; of the eyelids: be heavy with drowsiness; ~ lightere (more), weigh less (more); ~ (righte) wel, be heavy, weigh a lot; of one’s purse: be heavy with coins, be full; ppl. weiinge as adj.: heavy [quot. a1500(?a1425)]; (b) to weigh (a specified amount or weight); (c) of a unit of measure or weight, a standardized coin or commodity: to be equivalent to (an amount of weight specified in other units); (d) of the contents of one scale of a balance: ~ doun (up), to cause (the contents of the other scale) to fall (rise); ~ doun a pounde, outweigh a pound weight, weigh more than a pound.
Fig. (a) To have weight (in the divine balance); specif. have sufficient moral weight so as to attain divine reward or salvation; ~ ayen, have sufficient moral weight to prevail against (the devil with his scales); ~ more than, of actions: outweigh (other actions in the divine balance); ~ to litel, have insufficient moral weight (in the divine balance); (b) of ill-gotten goods: to weigh (sb.) down (as a weight in a balance); ~ doun, of the devil, sins: weigh (sb.) down; of evil deeds: outweigh (good deeds); ~ up, cause (sb.) to rise (in the divine balance); (c) to be burdensome; burden (someone’s life), oppress, weigh down; ~ up (hevi upon), lie heavy upon (one, the soul), weigh upon.
Fig. (a) To be of a certain relative importance, significance, power, or substance; also, convey a certain relative appearance of substance or importance, have influence; ~ not half a mite ayen, be of very little importance or substance in comparison with (sth. else); scarsli ~ a mite, scarcely exist at all, be slight or insubstantial; (b) ~ more toward (to…ward), of God’s mercy: to be weighted more toward (sb.), be inclined toward.
(a) To examine (sth.) so as to assess it, consider; contemplate (purgatory, an exemplary tale), deliberate on (sth.) in order to come to a conclusion; also, reflect upon (an event) in a text, elaborate upon [1st quot.]; ?become wise or discerning regarding (sth.) [2nd quot.]; (b) to ponder the force of (one’s words, speech, sins of the tongue, etc.), speak carefully or discreetly; also, compose (one’s verse) according to a certain measure of eloquence or metrical correctness [quot. a1415]; examine (a statement) with a view to accurate interpretation [quot. c1475(c1445)]; (c) to examine (someone’s actions, character, etc.) with a view to correction; of God: take account of (someone’s heart), take into consideration; also, ?be the standard by which (someone’s life or soul) is to be judged [1st quot.]; (d) to judge (sb. or sth.), evaluate, pass judgment on; also, with noun clause: judge (what one may do, which of two things is greater); ~ after on, judge (pride and humility) alike, make no distinction between; (e) to weigh (circumstances, intentions, consequences, etc.) against each other, contrast, compare; also, weigh (sorrow against pleasure); ~ in balaunce; (f) to value (sth.), esteem, consider worthy.
To proceed, go; ~ doun, descend; ~ from, depart or be removed from (a place), remain outside of; ~ up, climb upon (a horse), mount on.
(a) To bear (sb. or sth.), carry; bring (wine); convey (wine to sb.), serve; (b) to take (sth.) back, recover [?mistransl. of L liberāre as librāre]; ~ oute of, deliver (sb.) from (suffering), extricate from; (c) to hang suspended [quot. ?1440]; also, bear up (the earth, hills, mountains), hold up; hold (the mass of the earth) suspended; ~ up, hold up (heaven and earth), support; (d) ~ (up) ankeres, to hoist anchors; ~ up, of a gallows: hoist (sb.) up.
(a) To move (sb.), budge; cause (sth.) to move, shake, agitate; (b) to nudge (sb.).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1450 ?C.d'Orl.Poems (Hrl 682)105/3155 : ..I nede must loue for any greef or sore And yet y not what happe wol to me way, For whi oft tyme y haue herd folkis say That trowbille gret is there in lovis lore.
  • Note: Editor's gloss: "pay out" (=weigh): "I do not know what Fortune will give me" (or Spence's translation: ?"I don't know what fortune will befall me."). Spence glosses it "my way, my direction."--per PFS
    Note: [F: Je ne scay qu'il m'en avendru] = literally, "I do not know what will happen to me because of it" ="I don't know what will come of it."