Middle English Dictionary Entry

chẹ̄sen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1a.
(a) To select or choose (sth. or sb.) as suitable or agreeable; ~ out; ~ the best, make the best (of sth.); ~ at wille, choose freely; to dethe icoren, destined to die; (b) to choose or decide upon (one alternative); ~ on of two; ~ the better parti, make the better choice; (c) to decide or enter upon (an activity or a mode of behavior).
1b.
To decide or resolve (to do or be sth.).
2.
(a) To elect or choose (a king, abbot, etc.); (b) to elect or choose (sb. to or for an office, etc.); (c) to elect or choose (sb. to ben king, etc.); (d) to elect or choose (sb. as an officer, etc.).
3.
(a) To make a choice or decision; ~ of, choose among (things); ~ amis, aright, make the wrong (proper) choice; ~ at avis, wille, choose at discretion (will); ~ bi lot; he mai ~, he has free choice, the decision is his; I mai not ~, I have no choice, I am helpless; (b) to exercise one's power to choose freely or to make a decision; (b) to consent or agree (to sth.).
4a.
(a) To have a preference for (sth.), prefer; ~ rather, ~ er; ~ first, mest, before al other, prefer (sth.) to all other things; ~ led for gold; (b) to show favor to (sb.); the chosen of Israel; ben icorn, be favored (with sth.).
4b.
(a) To choose (sth.) as a way of life; dedicate or devote oneself to (Christianity, priesthood, chastity, poverty, etc.); -- with obj. or to phrase; (b) to have a liking (for sth.); indulge (in pleasure, etc.); -- usu. refl.
5.
Ppl. (a) Of persons: choice, elegant, excellent, distinguished, noble; handsome, beautiful, fair; coronest, kiddest ~, most distinguished; even ~, equally excellent; comeli ~, loveli ~; kindeli ~, naturally fair; also, choice or singular (cuckold); (b) of things: choice, excellent, fine, fair; gold ~, pure gold; ~ bote, singular revenge.
6a.
Theol. Of God or Christ: (a) to choose (the virtuous) for eternal life or the bliss of heaven; ~ to blisse, heven, etc.; (b) ppl. chosen to heavenly bliss, blessed; (c) ppl. as noun: the elect, the blessed; Cristes (godes) chosen.
6b.
Theol. Of Jesus: to choose (the Virgin for his mother); choose (the Christian community as his bride, the weak to confound the mighty); ~ to service, select (sb.) for holy office.
7.
(a) To collect, cull, pick (sth.); ~ out, pick out; (b) to obtain, get, find (sth.); occupy (a place); refl. keep or sustain (oneself), carry on; (c) to adopt (a child).
8.
To choose or take one's way; ~ wei (gate); proceed or go (to or from a place); refl. betake oneself; ~ fast, to hurry.
9.
(a) To perceive (sth., sb.); also, recognize; (b) to distinguish (one thing from another).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1350 Hrl.2253 Artist.Recipes (Hrl 2253) 230/29 : Vorte maken blankplum. Tac a vessel of eorþe oþer of treo, of a galun oþer more oþer lasse, cheos þu.
  • a1500 Hnt.HM.64 Artist.Recipes (Hnt HM 64) 279/25 : Chesse whether thou wold put gomme thereto or noo.
  • Note: Additional quot., sense 3.(a). New spelling (imp.) = cheos & chesse.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1425(?a1350) Castleford Chron.(Göt Hist 740)26709 : Hame com wilfride, sacrede was he, Escoldesham his bischopes see, Þar he wonede als goddes chose Durande daies of archebischope bose.
  • Note: New sense for subsense 6a.(c): "godes chosen, one chosen by God for a particular purpose." (Distinguished from the godes chosen of the gloss who are "the elect, the blessed" i.e. those chosen for salvation.
  • a1450(1408) Vegetius(1) (Dc 291)100/25 : A kniʒt þat is chosen [L lectus] by sacrament of ooþ and sworn to kniʒthode..owiþ noʒt..to forsake dedes of armes..witing wel þat he fiʒteþ noʒt onliche for his owne helthe but also for þe liberte and fredom of his comynalte .
  • Note: [L miles sacramento lectus ab exercitio armorum..cessare non debet, cui pugnandum est pro salute propria et libertate communi.]
    Note: Additional gloss for sense 2.(d).
    Note: Gloss: "to induct (a soldier) for active military service, appoint.
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section is incomplete and needs revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--all notes per MLL