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Old English[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *skeran, from Proto-Germanic *skeraną, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker-.

Cognate with Old Frisian skera, Old Saxon skeran, Dutch scheren, Old High German skeran, Old Norse skera. The Indo-European root is also the source of Ancient Greek κείρω (keírō, I cut off), Latin carō (flesh), Lithuanian skìrti (separate), Old Irish scaraim (separate).




  1. to shave
    • late 10th century, Ælfric, the Old English Hexateuch, Leviticus 19:27
      Ne ġē ēow ne efesiġen ne beard ne sċieren.
      And don't cut your hair or shave your beards.
    • unknown date, monastic sign language guide
      Strāca on þīn lēor swelċe þū sċieran wille.
      Run your two fingers along your cheek like you want to shave.
    • c. 897, King Alfred's translation of Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care
      Þā sacerdas ne sċoldon nā heora hēafdu sċieran mid sċearseaxum ne eft hīe ne sċulon heora loccas lǣtan weaxan, ac hīe sċoldon hīe efesian mid sċēarum.
      The priests weren't supposed to either shave their heads with razors or let their hair grow out, they were supposed to cut their hair with scissors.
  2. to shear
    • c. 996, Ælfric, "The Nativity of the Lord"
      Be Cristes þrōwunge cwæþ Īsāias, "Hē is ġelǣded tō sleġe swā swā sċēap, and hē swīgode and his mūþ ne ondyde swā swā lamb dēþ þonne hit man sċiereþ."
      Isaiah said about Jesus' suffering, "He's led like a sheep to the slaughter, and he kept silent and shut his mouth like a lamb being sheared."


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