atte abrayde

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Tue Jun 10 03:40:21 UTC 2008

A friend has asked me about this phrase, which may be encountered in
the old carol "Sir Christemas": "Wher'for syng we all atte abrayde"
). "Abrayde" is (as per the OED etc.) an older spelling of the
obsolete verb "abraid," which has several meanings, the most likely
relevant of which is "To break forth abruptly into speech; to burst
into a cry; to shout out."  But there's really nothing in nouns to go
on, and this song seems not to have found its way into the OED. My
best guess is that this is a nominalization, perhaps for the nonce
just to fit the rhyme. But I'm interested in any other ideas.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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