Middle English Dictionary Entry

winter n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) Winter, the coldest of the four seasons of the year (variously dated); a winter; also person.; also fig. and in fig. contexts; time of ~; solstice (solsticioun, tropik) of ~, the solstitial point of winter; (b) the cold half of the year, the half of the year during which days are short;—usu. used in contrast to summer; also, the season in which winter crops are planted, around October and November; (c) as adv.: during the winter; in adverbial constructions: al (al that, al the) ~, al the ~ long, etc., throughout the winter; everi ~, during every winter; ~ and somer, somer and ~, winteres and someres, throughout the year; never…winteres ne someres, never…in winter nor in summer; (d) winter weather, cold conditions; (e) in proverbs and prov. expressions; (f) cook. a subtlety representing winter as an old man.
(a) By synecdoche: a year; usu. in phrases with uninfl. plurals: the age of fifti (thriti) winter, fif-tene winter of age, o fif-tene winter elde, of eighte-tene (twelve) winter age, etc.; the wei of five hundred (seven thousand) winter, a distance equal to that traveled in five hundred (seven thousand) years; (b) in adverbial constructions, usu. with uninfl. plurals: fourti (thriti, mani, etc.) winter, fourti (fele) winteres, etc., during or for forty (thirty, many, etc.) years; the twenti fifte ~, during the twenty-fifth year [quot. c1450 Metham]; yeres and winteres, for years and years.
(a) In genitive phrases and combs.: winteres dai, a winter day; winteres ende, the end of (a specified number of) years; winteres night, a winter night; winteres ref, winter’s plundering;—used fig.; winteres tene, winter hardship; winteres tide (time), wintertime; the cold half of the year; winteres weder, winter weather, a winter storm; (b) in adverbial constructions: the winteres dai, during a winter day; the winteres night, during a winter night; during winter nights; mani (a) winteres space, for many years.
In cpds. and misc. combs.: (a) ~ dai [OE winter-dæg]; ~ long, of a night: as long as it is in wintertime; ~ month, a winter month, month during the cold half of the year; ~ mone, ?a winter month; ?moonlight in winter; ~ morn; a winter morning; ~ night; ~ sesoun (time), ~ tide [OE winter-tīd], the season of winter, wintertime, the cold portion of the year; also, used adverbially: in winter [quot. a1500(c1477)]; in-to ~ ward, at the beginning of winter; martin-messe (feste of seinte martin) in ~, seinte nicholas in ~ time, the feast of St. Martin (St. Nicholas) celebrated in wintertime, November 11 (December 6), as opposed to the summer feast day of St. Martin (St. Nicholas); mid ~, q.v.; (b) ~ cold [OE winter-ceald], ~ shour [OE winter-scūr], ~ storm (thonder, weder), cold weather (stormy conditions, thunder, bad weather) occurring during winter; ~ sonne, the sun in its winter position, rising low in the south and relatively late; ~ tene (wo), hardship (distress) caused by wintry conditions; ~ wele, ?winter happiness;—prob. error for *winne (pl. gen. of win n.(2) (a)) wele ‘wealth of joys’; (c) ~ bere, winter barley, beare barley (Hordeum hexastichon); ~ corn (sed), grain planted in the fall; ~ corn-threshere, one who threshes the winter grain crop; ~ fare, ?provisions received by a monastery for winter use; ~ fish, fish taken in winter; ~ giste, a payment for winter pasturage; ~ halle (heie, hous, housinge, wone, woninge), ~ stalle [OE winter-steall], a dwelling (residence, hive, an enclosure, etc.) providing protection, shelter, comfort, etc. during the cold part of the year; also, fig. Holy Church [quot. c1390]; ~ livere, an allowance for or allotment of winter clothing or provisions; ~ lomb, a lamb born in winter; ~ note, ?a nut gathered in winter; ~ robe (robinge), winter clothing; also in fig. context; time of ~ sed, the time when winter crops are planted.
(a) Coll. Pelts taken from sheep slaughtered in winter; ~ fles, fleece shorn from a sheep in winter; (b) some kind of brass vessel.
(a) In surnames and personal names; (b) in place names [see Smith PNElem. 2.269,270]; also in river name [last quot.].