I cleep, you cleep, he cleeps

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Sep 18 22:24:11 UTC 2010

Diligent and productive work, Doug. I gave up on Google and cleep.

At 9/18/2010 06:02 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>  Here is another instance, from 1852, applied to another game (called
>"French and English"):
>(p. 36)
><<A rope being provided, two players stand out, and after having cleeped
>for first choice, select the partners.>>
>No explanation, no quotation marks.

By 1852, everyone had seen the 1844, 1847, and 1848 editions of the
other book on boys' pastimes.  :-)

This too is an English imprint, thus not in conflict with my
hypothesis that "cleep" was not prevalent in America.

>The word appears as "clepe" here and there in dialect glossaries: this
>is the clearest I've seen, apparently reprinted from an 1840 glossary of
>East Anglia dialect:
>(p. 61)
><<Clepe,* _v._ in Suffolk pr. _clape_ [claip]; i. e. to choose by
>calling partners in rustic games, as cricket, foot-ball, &c. "To clepe a
>side" is, by a lot for the first call, after which each headsman
>alternately calls to his side one of the players, till the full number
>is _cleped_, or called. Cf. O.E. _ycleped_, _yclept_, vocatus. [A.S.

This seems particularly significant.   The definition is in terms of
calling partners, with no specification of the method of determining
who cleped first.  So the writer whom Doug first cited probably
didn't mean to associate "cleep" with the toe-to-heel process for the "lot".

>Apparently the variant "clip" also occurred.

That must explain the "clip" in my mother's edition of Henry VI Part 2.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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