feorh

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Old English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *ferhuz (world, life).

Cognate with Old Frisian ferch, Old Saxon ferah, Old High German ferah, Old Norse fjǫrr, Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐌹𐍂𐍈𐌿𐍃 (fairƕus).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /fe͜orx/, [fe͜orˠx]

Noun[edit]

feorh n

  1. life (one whose safety is questioned)
    • c. 992, Ælfric, "The Deposition of St. Martin, Bishop"
      Sum unġesċādwīs mann hine selfne āhēng and his feorh forlēt.
      Some irrational person hanged himself and lost his life.
    • late 9th century, translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History
      Sæġde þæt hēo wǣre on bedde liċġendu and hire man fēores ne wēnde.
      She said that she was confined to a bed and was not expected to live [literally "her life was not expected"].
    • c. 992, Ælfric, "The Nativity of the Innocents"
      Sē enġel cwæþ tō Iōsēpe, "Þā sind forþfarene þe ymb þæs ċildes feorh sieredon."
      The angel told Joseph, "The people who conspired against the child's life are dead."
    • c. 992, Ælfric, "The Passion of the Apostles Peter and Paul"
      Nero þā þā hē þæs folces ġeþeahte āscode wearþ tō fēore āfyrhted and mid flēame tō wuda ġetengde.
      When Nero heard about their pact, he became afraid for his life and rushed away into the woods.
    • late 9th century, translation of Orosius’ History Against the Pagans
      On þām ġewinne ofslōg Antipater his mōdor, Cassandres lāfe, þēah þe hēo earmlīċe hire fēores tō him wilnode.
      In the war, Antipater killed his mother, Cassander's widow, though she pitifully begged him for her life.
    • late 9th century, translation of Orosius’ History Against the Pagans
      On þām dæġe þe hīe feohtan sċoldon, him cōm ān swā miċel hǣtu and swā miċel þurst þæt hīe him heora fēores ne wēndon.
      On the day that they were supposed to fight, they were hit with so much heat and thirst that they thought they were going to die [literally "they didn't expect their life"].
    • late 9th century, King Alfred's translation of Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy
      Iċ wāt þæt þū nāwht ne forslāwode þæt þū þīn āgen feorh for þīnne swēor ne sealde ġif þū hine ġesāwe on hwelcum earfoþum.
      I know you would not hesitate to give your own life for your father-in-law if you saw him in any trouble.
    • late 9th century, King Alfred's translation of Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy
      Ġif þū nū wǣre weġfērend and hæfde miċel gold on þē and þū þonne becōme on þēofsċole, þonne ne wēnde þū þē þīnes fēores.
      If you were traveling and had a lot of gold on you and you ran into a gang of robbers, you would think you were going to die [literally "you would not expect your life"].
    • c. 996, Ælfric's Lives of Saints
      Hingwar sende þā sōna siþþan Ēadmunde cyninge bēotlīċ ǣrende: þæt hē ābūgan sċolde tō his manrǣdene ġif hē rōhte his fēores.
      After that, Ivar immediately sent a gloating message to King Edmund: that he should submit to serving Ivar if he valued his life.
    • late 9th century, King Alfred's translation of Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care
      Loth cwæþ tō þām engle, "Hēr is ān lȳtlu burg swīðe nēah þǣr iċ mæġ mīn feorh ġenerian. Hēo is ān lȳtlu, and þēah iċ mæġ þǣr on libban."
      Lot told the angel, "There's a little town around here, very close by, where I can preserve my life. It's a little one, but I can live there."
    • late 9th century, King Alfred's translation of Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy
      Þā Seneca þā onfunde þæt hē dēad bēon sċolde, þā bēad hē ealle his ǣhte wiþ his fēore. Þā nolde Nero þæs onfōn ne him his fēores ġeunnan.
      When Seneca found out that he was about to die, he offered all his possessions in exchange for his life. But Nero wouldn't accept them or grant him his life.
    • late 9th century, translation of Orosius’ History Against the Pagans
      Rōmāne hæfdon þā nīewlīċe ġesett þæt þā þe hætt beran mōston, þonne hīe hwelċ folc oferwunnen hæfdon, þæt þā mōston ǣġðer habban ġe feorh ġe frēodōm.
      The Romans had recently passed a law that whenever they conquered a people, anyone who was allowed to wear a hat could keep both their life and their freedom.
    • late 9th century, translation of Orosius’ History Against the Pagans
      Sē þe him ǣr ġeþūhte þæt nān sǣ wiþhabban ne meahte þæt hē hine mid sċipum and mid his fultume āfyllan ne meahte, hē wæs eft biddende ānes lȳtles troges æt ānum earmum menn þæt hē meahte his feorh ġenerian.
      The same man (Xerxes) who had thought that no sea could stop him from covering it with his ships and his army wound up begging a poor person for their little boat so he could save his life.
    • late 9th century, translation of Orosius’ History Against the Pagans
      Þā fēng Philippus tō Mæcedonia rīċe, and hit ealle hwīle on miċelum plēo and on miċelum earfoþum hæfde, þæt ǣġðer ġe him man ūtane of ōðrum lande on wann, ġe ēac þæt his āgen folc ymb his fēorh sierede, þæt him þā æt nīehstan lēofre wæs þæt hē ūte wunne þonne hē æt hām wǣre.
      Then Philip came to the throne of Macedon, and held it with great danger and struggle. Not only was he fighting against other countries, but even his own people were plotting against his life, until he would finally rather fight abroad than be at home.
  2. (poetic) soul
  3. (poetic) living being, person

Declension[edit]

Rarely it is treated as masculine:

Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Middle English: feor, fere