• synonyms

Middle English

  1. the English language of the period c1150–c1475. Abbreviation: ME
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Origin of Middle English

First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for middle english

Historical Examples

  • The explanation of these rules depends upon Middle-English grammar and pronunciation; for which see the Introduction to vol.

    Chaucer's Works, Volume 5 (of 7) -- Notes to the Canterbury Tales

    Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Penda's own son, whom he had set over the Middle-English, received baptism and teachers from Lindisfarne.

British Dictionary definitions for middle english

Middle English

  1. the English language from about 1100 to about 1450: main dialects are Kentish, Southwestern (West Saxon), East Midland (which replaced West Saxon as the chief literary form and developed into Modern English), West Midland, and Northern (from which the Scots of Lowland Scotland and other modern dialects developed)Abbreviation: ME Compare Old English, Modern English
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

middle english in Culture

Middle English

The English language from about 1150 to about 1500. During this time, following the Norman Conquest of England, the native language of England — Old English — borrowed great numbers of words from the Norman French of the conquerors. Middle English eventually developed into modern English.

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Many of the writings in Middle English that have survived have word forms very different from those in modern English; today's readers of English cannot understand the language of these works without training. Some dialects of Middle English, however, resemble modern English, and a good reader of today can catch the drift of something written in them. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in one of these dialects.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.