Middle English Dictionary Entry

whīt n.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) The color white, white as the color opposite to black; also, a pale or whitish color; also, whiteness, whiteness as the opposite of blackness; her. ?the color argent; bright (shininge) ~, a bright white color; chalk (milk) ~, a pure white color; (b) white pigment; ~ of led, a white pigment made of white lead; (c) fig. moral purity; also, that which is admirable or morally good in someone; (d) in proverbs.
The albumen that surrounds the yolk of an egg, egg white;—also coll.; ~ of egges, whites of egges, egges whit(es, etc.
(a) Anat. The visible part of the sclerotic coat of the eye, the white of the eye; also, the corner (of the eye) [quots. ?c1475 & a1500, 2nd occurrence];—prob. error for wike n.(2); ~ of eie(n; (b) med. & pathol. a disease of the eye characterized by a growth or secretion in the corner of the eye; ?conjunctivitis; also, ?cataract; ~ of the eie.
Natural fairness or paleness of complexion; a pale or fair complexion, fair skin, fair coloring; a pale or fair countenance; also, the natural light color of exposed skin [quot. a1500(a1450)].
(a) White cloth, white fabric; white clothing; white religious garb, a white habit; also, ?white bedclothes or hangings [last quot.]; a white thread [quot. a1425]; clothen in ~; brod whites, ?lengths of white broadcloth; chalk ~, pure white raiment; (b) white petals.
(a) White wine; (b) dairy food, milk; coll. dairy products; ~ of butere, buttermilk;—?error for whei n. (a); (c) the white part (of a leek).
(a) The white ring or part of a target; (b) chess a white square on a chessboard.
(a) The white slimy matter of a goose turd; (b) a white coating or encrustation.
In phrase: ~ of the dai, ?the first light of day, dawn, sunrise.
Alch. A white-colored form of the philosophers’ stone, the white elixir.
In phrase: ~ of grene, prob. mistransl. of F blaunkes de veyr, spotted furs, as if blancs de vert.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500 Dc.45 Artist.Recipes (Dc 45) 151/18 : Hwan yt ys drye take a sawserful of clene water and do hwythe of an ey and menge hem togyder ful wel.
  • Note: Additional quote, sense 2. New spelling.
  • ?a1525 Dc.54 Artist.Recipes (Dc 54) 262/5 : Take parchement and pomys hyt well, and rule hyt well, and take a pen and wryte ylke lyne ylyke far asundyr, and kepe wel the wytt.
  • Note: ?New sense = 'white space of a page', perh. under 7.
    Note: New spelling.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. white.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 3.(a)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. white of the eye.