Middle English Dictionary Entry

bọ̄te n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. beten v.(2).
1.
(a) Advantage, help, profit, good, benefit; don ~, don of (on) ~, do (sb.) good, aid, be profitable to; for ~ ne bale, for good or bad; londes ~, improvement of soil; to ~, for (someone's) good or benefit; (b) avail, use; no ~, no use, of no avail; it is no ~, it is no use (to do sth.), there is nothing to be gained (by doing sth.); what ~ is (it), what is the use (of doing sth.); (c) something added; to ~, in addition; (d) well-being, happiness.
2.
(a) Relief, deliverance; remedy (from a source outside oneself); a helper, protector [quot.: c1390]; a means of saving oneself, a defense [quot.: a1450]; finden ~, find relief; withouten ~, without possibility of rescue, inevitably; (b) ~ of bale, deliverance from trouble, relief from sorrow; don ~, bring relief or deliverance (from sth.); make a defense [quot.: c1325]; (c) a way out of a difficulty, a remedy (through one's own actions); nis ther no ~, there is no way out (except to do sth., but death); other ~ nas, ther is (nis) non other ~, there is (was) nothing else to do, there is (was) no alternative; (d) mercy, pardon; (e) in proverbs, etc.: after bale cometh ~, relief comes after trouble; betere is that ~ bale adoun bringe, etc., it is better to right the wrong than punish the offender; God do ~, God help us, God have mercy, God help (sb.); when (thonne) bale is heghest, etc., when trouble is greatest relief is nearest, the darkest hour is before the dawn.
3.
(a) Salvation, redemption; also, a means of salvation; bringen to ~, redeem; our soule ~, salvation of our souls; soule ~, salvation; (b) redeemer, savior; herte ~, soule(s) ~; (c) pardon for sin, forgiveness.
4.
(a) Amends; don ~, make amends; (b) redress of a wrong done by another; (c) penance, expiation of sin; comen to ~, don ~, gon on (to) ~, do penance, repent; (d) atonement for another's sin; (e) ~ dai, a day for penance.
5.
(a) The cure of a disease or a wound, healing, recovery from illness; don ~, cure (sb.); shal to ~, shall be the cure; taken ~, be cured; (b) a medicine, remedy.
6.
The repair of bridges.
7.
Second element of numerous cpds., esp. legal terms. [See brigge ~, burgh ~, cart ~, castel ~, corn ~, ded ~, fir ~, hous ~, sinne ~, thef ~, etc.]

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500 Sidrak & B.(LdMisc 599)3932 : He þat of travayle cannot late For coueytous of worldis bate And hathe inow withouten that, He shall neuer be man fat.
  • a1475 Sidrak & B.(Lnsd 793)4091 : Wheþer to haue is more bate--Loue of wymmen or her hate [F Qui vaut mieuz, l'amor de sa fame o sa haine?].
  • Note: New form: Also..bate.
    Note: Quots. belong to sense 1.(a).
    Note: Editor's note: Perhaps the best translation of 'bate' is 'advantage, benefit.' (Also, for l. 4091, it is in accordance with the French.) Regarding the form, see EDD beeat under boot sb.(2). DOST has bat, bait, (bayt) n.(3), which is derived from [MDu baet, bate] = 'profit, advantage'. The spelling bate may be considered a form of bote influenced by the cognate word in Middle Dutch, or perhaps as a previously unrecorded ocurrence in English of the Middle Dutch word in its original sense. (If the latter possibility be accepted, bate n. should be a separate entry in the MED.
  • c1450(a1400) Lavynham Treat.7 Dead.Sins (Hrl 211)5/28 : Ho þan þat wile beyʒen him blis & also sowle bote lyʒtly borwe, These bronchis brekyn he mot, y wis, for pride is þe ferst seed of sorwe.
  • Note: Additional combination for sense 3.(a) (without gloss, to be added after "also, a means of salvation;"): soule ~.
  • a1425 Swete Ihesu now (Add 37787)13 : Swete ihesu myn soule bote. In myn herte þu sette a rote Of þi loue.
  • Note: Quot. needed for date in sense 3.(b).
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section may be incomplete and / or may need revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--notes per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

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