n. (vbl. n.)

Gaw drowping

‘torpor, troubled sleep’ (Modern English drooping)


Formed on the ME v. droupen, often derived from Norse, cp. OIcel drúpa ‘to droop, hang one’s head’ (thus OED s.v. droop v., MED s.v. droupen v., Bj., Luick §383.1, Kullnick 14, Knigge 82, TGD, GDS). However, the occurance of an OE drūpung as early as Let1 (see DOE), in a text surviving in an 11c. manuscript (Swaen 1920: 348, Simpson 1981: 302, and see further Dance 2003: 446) but possibly composed much earlier, and containing no clear Norse loans (Sisam 1923: 258–62 ) makes native derivation more plausible. OE *drūpian is generally listed as cognate with the OIcel word (and with MDu drūpen, Du druipen) (thus de Vries, Mag., Orel, and AEW), and the PGmc root *ðrūp- is uncontroversially connected with the verb *ðreupan- ‘to drip’ (OE drēopan, OIcel drjúpa, OS driopan, etc.).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

drúpa ‘to droop, hang one’s head’
(ONP drúpa (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far drýpa, Icel drúpa, Norw drupa

OE Cognate

drūpung 'drooping, torpor, dejection'

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



After one OE attestation, the verbal noun is infrequent in ME, though the v. droupen is fairly widespread (inc. Chaucer), albeit disproportionately frequent in N and alliterative texts.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 1748, 1750

On the sense of Gaw 1748, see Wright 1935: 170 and PS 1748, 1750n.


MED drouping (ger.) , OED drooping (n.) , HTOED , Dance droupyng, Bj. 176n.1, 208, de Vries drúpa, Mag. drúpa, Orel *ðrūpōjanan, AEW drūpian, DOE drūpung