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Old High German[edit]


An old compound mezzi- +‎ sahs, cognate with Old English meteseax, metsax, from Proto-Germanic *matisahsą (food-knife). The Gothic equivalent would be (unattested) *matisahs, compare to attested 𐌼𐌰𐍄𐌹𐌱𐌰𐌻𐌲𐍃 (matibalgs, food-bag). In origin the knife used for cutting food while working, hunting or travelling, which doubled as a defensive weapon.

The compound was obscured at an early time, within the Old High German period, which suggests frequent use. The original mezzi-sahs is first reduced to mazsahs (Old Saxon mezas, Low German metz, mess, mest). The form containing -r- then appears still in the Old High German period, as mezzirahs which via mezzarehs, mezziras, mezzeres becomes mezzer. Middle High German has mezzer virtually exclusively; but compare a 12th-century Rhenish mez-sehs, whence r-less forms in contemporary Central Franconian (see Metz, Mäß).


mezzisahs n

  1. knife