wold

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English wald, wold, from Old English (Anglian) wald (compare weald), from Proto-Germanic *walþuz, from Proto-Indo-European *wel(ə)-t- (compare Welsh gwallt ‘hair’, Lithuanian váltis ‘oat awn’, Serbo-Croatian vlât ‘ear (of wheat)’, Ancient Greek λάσιος(lásios) ‘hairy’). See also the related term weald.

Noun[edit]

wold ‎(plural wolds)

  1. (archaic, regional) An unforested or deforested plain, a grassland, a moor.
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act III, Scene 4,[1]
      Saint Withold footed thrice the ’old;
      He met the nightmare, and her nine fold;
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Volume I, Chapter 8,[2]
      [] I came with my cousin, Frank Osbaldistone, there, and I must show him the way back again to the Hall, or he’ll lose himself in the wolds.”
    • 1818, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, stanza 69,[3]
      And therefore did he take a trusty band
      To traverse Acarnania forest wide,
      In war well-seasoned, and with labours tanned,
      Till he did greet white Achelous’ tide,
      And from his farther bank Ætolia’s wolds espied.
    • 1833, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “To J. S.” in Poems, London: Edward Moxon, p. 158,[4]
      The wind that beats the mountain, blows
      More softly round the open wold,
    • 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Part IV,[5]
      Blossomed the opening spring, and the notes of the robin and bluebird
      Sounded sweet upon wold and in wood, yet Gabriel came not.
    • 1865, Christina Rossetti, “From Sunset to Star Rise” in Poems, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1906, p. 26,[6]
      Take counsel, sever from my lot your lot,
      Dwell in your pleasant places, hoard your gold;
      Lest you with me should shiver on the wold,
      Athirst and hungering on a barren spot.
    • 1881, Oscar Wilde, “Rome Unvisited” in Poems, London: Methuen & Co., 12th edition, 1913, p. 48,[7]
      Before yon field of trembling gold
      Is garnered into dusty sheaves,
      Or ere the autumn’s scarlet leaves
      Flutter as birds adown the wold,
  2. (obsolete) A wood or forest, especially a wooded upland.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used in many English place-names, always hilly tracts of land.
  • Wald (German) is a cognate, but a false friend because it retains the original meaning of forest.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  • OED 2nd edition 1989

Middle English[edit]

Verb[edit]

wold

  1. would

References[edit]

  • p. 1, Arthur; A Short Sketch of his Life and History in English Verse of the First Half of the Fifteenth Century, Frederick Furnivall ed. EETS. Trübner & Co.: London. 1864.

Middle Low German[edit]

Noun[edit]

wôld

  1. Alternative spelling of wôlt.