Definition of Old English in English:

Old English

Pronunciation /ōld ˈiNG(ɡ)liSH/ /oʊld ˈɪŋ(ɡ)lɪʃ/


  • The language of the Anglo-Saxons (up to about 1150), a highly inflected language with a largely Germanic vocabulary, very different from modern English.

    ‘From the late 8th century on, the Vikings forced entry, occupied the land, and introduced Old Norse words into Old English.’
    Also called Anglo-Saxon
    • ‘Diligently, he traces each letter from the ancient Semitic and Phoenician alphabets through Old English and Norman French, exploring shapes and pronunciation.’
    • ‘In England laws had been written in Old English as early as the seventh century, and Bede had embarked on translating parts of the Bible in the eighth.’
    • ‘The solution to this riddle is ‘sacred scriptures’, sacra scriptura, or in Old English halige gewritu.’
    • ‘The word derives from Old English gliv or glo, meaning ‘music’.’