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See also: Wold


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wald, wold, from (Anglian) Old English wald (compare weald), from Proto-Germanic *walþuz, from Proto-Indo-European *wel(ə)-t- (compare Norwegian voll (field, meadow), Welsh gwallt (hair), Lithuanian váltis (oat awn), Serbo-Croatian vlât (ear (of wheat)), Ancient Greek λάσιος (lásios, hairy)). See also the related term weald.



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,
    • 1942, Neville Shute, Pied Piper, New York: William Morrow & Co., Chapter 8,[8]
      It seemed to be a fairly large and prosperous farm, grouped round a modest country house standing among trees as shelter from the wind. About it rolled the open pasture of the wold, as far as could be seen.
  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]


  • OED 2nd edition 1989

Etymology 2[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)



wold (comparative wolder, superlative woldest)

  1. (archaic, dialect, West Country, Dorset, Devon) Old.
    • 1873, Elijah Kellogg, Sowed by the Wind: Or, The Poor Boy's Fortune, Boston: Lee and Shepard, page 19:
      "[A] girt wind had a-blowed the wold tree auver, so that his head were in the water."
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, volume 1, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., page 7:
      "I've got a wold silver spoon, and a wold graven seal at home, too; but, Lord, what's a graven seal?"


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative spelling of wolde

Middle Low German[edit]



  1. Alternative spelling of wôlt.