Middle English Dictionary Entry

whēte n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) The plant wheat or any plant of the genus Triticum, esp. T. aestivum or T. sativum; also, a wheat crop; wheat considered as seed; (b) the grain of the wheat plant, harvested wheat; grain considered as a commodity or as a foodstuff;—also pl.; also, hulled wheat [quot. 1381]; (c) in fig. and metaphorical uses, often in contrast to chaff, weeds, etc.; also in prov. expressions and conventional comparisons.
In cpds., combs., and phrases: (a) designating parts or products of the wheat plant: ~ bran, bran of ~; ~ chaf; ~ corn [OE hwǣte-corn], corn of ~; ~ ere [see whete-ere n. (a)], ere of ~; ~ flour, flour of ~; ~ glene, glene of ~; ~ grain, grain of ~; ~ malt; ~ mele [OE hwǣte-melu], mele of ~; ~ red (strau); ~ sed; marwe of ~; oile of ~; (b) designating items made of wheat: ~ bred, bred of ~; ~ dough; ~ lof (oble); cake of ~; (c) in misc. cpds. and combs.: ~ bern (gerner), a barn or granary for storing harvested wheat; ~ carre, ?a small cart for conveying wheat from the field or to market; ~ feld (corn-feld); ~ hervest (repinge); ~ ridder (ridel), a sieve or strainer for bolting grain; blak ~, ?melampyrum, black corn; (d) her. ~ ere [see whete-ere n. (b)]; ~ shef, a stylized sheaf of wheat used as a heraldic device.
(a) In surnames; (b) in place names [see Smith PNElem.1.271].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1525 Dc.54 Artist.Recipes (Dc 54) 263/31 : Take .ij. hanfullys of wot melle and þat ys suffycyent to .ij. galownys of watyr.
  • Note: Additional quot., sense 2.(a) ~ mele. New spelling = wot (?error).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 2.(a)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. oil of wheat.