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From Middle English welken, welkne, wolkne (cloud; sky; weather (?); heavens; (astronomy) cosmic elementary, planetary, or celestial sphere; all the spheres beyond the elementary region, including the primum mobile) [and other forms],[1] from Old English wolcn (cloud) [and other forms] (plural wolcnu (sky; heavens)),[2] from Proto-West Germanic *wolkn (cloud) (Anglo-Frisian Germanic), from Proto-Germanic *wulkaną (cloud) [and other forms], from Proto-Indo-European *welg- (damp; wet).



welkin (plural welkins) (archaic except literary or poetic)

  1. (also Lancashire) The sky which appears to an observer on the Earth as a dome in which celestial bodies are visible; the firmament.
    Synonyms: ether, (dialectal) heavens, lift
  2. The upper atmosphere occupied by clouds, flying birds, etc.
  3. (religion) The place above the Earth where God or other deities live; heaven.

Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


  1. ^ welken, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ welkin, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “welkin, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]