v. (wk.)

Gaw past sg. craued

‘to claim, ask for, crave, beg’ (Modern English crave)


Late OE crafian has sometimes been ascribed a Scandinavian origin, cp. OIcel krefja ‘to crave, demand, call on one’ (thus Steenstrup 1882: 184, Kluge 1901: 933, Hofmann §§261–2), presumably on the grounds that a PGmc *kraƀ- is not otherwise known outside Scandinavia. But the ON v. is only attested as a wk. class 1 (PGmc. *kraƀjan-) with i-mutation, as opposed to the unmutated class 2 form in OE. Derivation via one of the ON nouns (cp. OIcel krǫf ‘claim, demand’, krafa ‘craving, demand’) is possible, but less plausible given that no English n. crave is known before the 18c. (see OED s.v. crave n.). The English and Norse verbs are therefore usually now treated as independent formations on the same Gmc root  (thus TGD, GDS, OED, MED, SPS), though the ON krefja might nevertheless have exerted semantic influence on OE crafian in the specific sense ‘to summon’ in late OE legal documents (see SPS 110–11.)

PGmc Ancestor

*kraƀ- (prob.*kraƀo(j)an-)

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

krefja ‘to crave, demand, call on one’
(ONP krefja (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far krevja, Icel krefja, Norw krevja, Dan kræve, Sw kräva

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Found in a number of 11c. legal documents and the ASC (see DOE, SPS 286–7), and thereafter frequent and widespread from ME onwards.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 277, 283, 812, etc.; Cl 810


MED crāven (v.) , OED crave (v.) , HTOED , HTOED , Dance craue, Bj. 248, SPS 110–11, 286–7, de Vries krefja, Mag. krefja, Orel *krafjanan, Kroonen *krabēn-, AEW crafian, DOE crafian