Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


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The verb is obsolete, except in dialects or when used in the past participle yclept which is sometimes used as a deliberate archaism, or as an idiomatic set phrase: aptly yclept.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




  1. to call, to name to clepe


  • J. Poole W. Barnes, A Glossary, with Some Pieces of Verse, of the Old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy (1867)