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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English clepen, clepien, from Old English cleopian, clipian (to speak, cry out, call, summon, invoke, cry to, implore), from Proto-Germanic *klipōną (to ring, sound), from Proto-Indo-European *gal- (to sound). Cognate with Old Frisian klippa, kleppa (to ring), Dutch kleppen (to toll, chatter), Middle Low German kleppen (to strike, sound), Middle Low German kleperen (to rattle).



clepe (third-person singular simple present clepes, present participle cleping, simple past cleped, clepen or clept, past participle cleped, clept, clepen or yclept)

  1. (intransitive, archaic or dialectal) To give a call; cry out; appeal.
  2. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call upon; cry out to.
  3. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call to one's self; invite; summon.
  4. (transitive, archaic or dialectal) To call; call by the name of; name.
    • 1385: Geoffery Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde Book 5, lines 760-745,
      For that that som men blamen ever yit,
      Lo, other maner folk commenden it.
      And as for me, for al swich variaunce,
      Felicitee clepe I my suffisaunce.
    • 1593: Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis
      She clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings,
      Imperious supreme of all mortal things.
    • 1922: James Joyce, Ulysses
      And there came against the place as they stood a young learning knight yclept Dixon.
    • 2001: Glen David Gold, Carter Beats the Devil
      World traveling sorcerer supreme Charles Carter, yclept Carter the Mysterious, has made a startling discovery that makes the news from Europe seem mild indeed.
  5. (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal) (often with on) To tell lies about; inform against (someone).
  6. (intransitive, now chiefly dialectal) To be loquacious; tattle; gossip.
  7. (transitive, now chiefly dialectal) To report; relate; tell.

Usage notes[edit]

The verb is obsolete, except in dialects or when used in the past participle yclept which is sometimes used as a deliberate archaism, or as an idiomatic set phrase: aptly yclept.


clepe (plural clepes)

  1. (Now chiefly dialectal) A cry; an appeal; a call.
    with clepes and cries




  1. second-person singular present active imperative of clepō